We have been friends for many years, I first met you back in 2004 through GH and we have watched in horror as his life imploded.
Together we have watched many of our friends achieve against great odds only to fall over before the finish line.
Some through drugs, some through misadventure but most; through their inability to reconcile their past with their present success. In writing this, I am acutely aware I fall heavily into the last category.
You and I have often discussed the similarity of our backgrounds and how difficult it has been to shake off the shackles of the past.
Homophobia when we were kids has been an incessant part of our lives and the feelings of unworthiness are difficult to shake.
You have done better than most and I am proud to have you and Felix as friends.
I met you after I had gone through my tough years, Billy and I were in the process of establishing Next as a pioneering Real Estate model.
We were doing it tough because of lack of funds but things were heading in the right direction and during 2007, we were even able to dream a bit about what the future may hold.
You had supported our business model with anything you could send our way and I can never express our gratitude enough for this.
It was though, the personal support of you and Felix after March 2008 when the clouds were at their darkest, that I will always be most thankful.
You became a confidant and a prodder, you refused to let me succumb to the demons that could once again, have spiralled out of control.
Business and personal support was what we needed at this time, you were the cool head who kept urging us forward. From parties at your place to our regular Saturday morning breakfasts and the ongoing business communication; you were always there.
After 2009, when the forecast was less immediate but more proscribed, you watched me like a hawk. I had always, to be on my best behaviour; you were a stern master guiding an errant schoolboy.
Between you and Billy; my aches and pains, my tiredness and the disconnect between the brain, bladder and assorted limbs became secondary to the business performance and whilst this was hard to listen to at the time, it would prove to be the lifeline I needed.
You never cut me any slack in the myriad of times we were to work together and excuses were barely listened to.
“What’s the deal, and when we are going to sew this matter up?” was a much better tonic than the sought-after sympathy.
You and Billy don’t have a lot in common, but one thing you do share is your uncompromising honesty and drive for performance; even when a day in bed was a far more tempting alternative.
“We can’t fix what is happening to you but we can fix next month’s costs” these were the sentiments which drove me through the period 2010 – 2013.
When it became obvious the effort to work was being impaired, then; was the time for empathy and you helped me crystallise my thoughts on the business.
I was driving one day with you in the car, I made the mistake of praising my own driving.
“It’s not you I am worried about Bruce; but there are other people on the road” was a salient signal that, maybe my time on the road was nearing an end.
Your decision to spend almost every weekend in the Mountains was tough for me, I missed the times we would solve all the problems of the world over a leisurely Saturday breakfast before I went to work for the day.
I miss having you guys around the corner and the times when you were away, and I was entrusted with the wellbeing of the two dogs.
We still catch up and it is always good to see you both, I just wanted to write while I still can, to say how important you both have been in our lives, over the past few years.
I remember the day, back in 2012 I was dusting the lounge room at Redfern, I don’t know where Billy was but I was home alone on a Sunday afternoon.
I had brushed my shin on the glass coffee table but because I don’t have a lot of feeling in my legs, I did not notice and continued to drag my leg against the sharp edge.
I was busy dusting the bookcases when I looked down to see blood almost spurting from a jagged cut around the side of my leg.
Thank God I had a towel with me, I wrapped it as tightly as I could and then called you to take me to Emergency.
You arrived in the brand-new BMW; the look on your face as I dragged my blood soaked leg into your pristine auto will stay with me for ever.
You have been great friends, guys.
Love ya heaps