This is a kind of personal trip down memory lane… Over the last couple of days I’ve been reminded of some good friends who were around for me during some pretty hard times. I have no idea what this might mean to anyone else, or if anyone’s even interested, but this is the story and memories of my old friends.
I’d just left school and was trying to figure out what to do. (Still haven’t, but that’s another story.) I ran into a couple of guys in town, I think and we got chatting. We had lots in common and got along really well. Jack was just adorable. A sweet, gentle character. Not a big reader, but a lovely person. Peter had a much sharper wit and the driest sense of humour and cutting insight into people. He was studying to be a chef.
We went to visit an old lady that lived near Jack’s place. They’d befriended her and used to visit just to keep her company. We went and hung out in clubs sometimes. We caught trains around the place and chatted about life and all. I’d never had many female friends in school because I wasn’t interested in the competition that goes on between young women in high school. Nor was I much interested in flirting with boys. I spent most of my weekends and afternoons either reading Isaac Asimov or riding the horse around the bush nearby. My folks had been country people and I suppose I was a bush chook even then.
I must have been aware on some level that Jack and Peter were gay but I don’t remember it ever really crossing my mind consciously except for one time when my Mum asked after them. They weren’t partners. Just friends. And good friends of mine. We weren’t competing for anyone’s attention and there wasn’t any flirting between us, so it was a new sort of friendship for me. Being able to talk to people and trust them… have a laugh… share stories… congratulate and commiserate. I was friends with those guys for a few years.
Later I got involved with a boyfriend J who turned out to be a nasty piece of work. I think he actually threatened Peter, because we lost touch after that. Hell, he threatened me. (I eventually stood up to him with a cast iron frying pan in my hand so it ain’t all bad… but that’s another other story.) Everyone has childhood friendships that they remember fondly and perhaps regret having lost touch… those guys are two of mine. In the years since, I’ve known a bunch of other gay and lesbian friends, but Peter and Jack still stick in my mind because they were such good friends when I really needed them.
It leaves me a bit spoiled in some ways. Any time I see something like the footage in Bruno or those dicks from Westboro with their “god hates fags” signs, it leaves me a bit hurt and really confused. I can’t make the connection they seem to be making. Those people seem to be really very threatened by someone like Jack or Peter and it just doesn’t add up for me. Why, in the 21st century, are we making such a big deal about what people do in the privacy of their own homes with consenting adult partners? Whose business is it? I’m confused about the motives for calling people names because of who they may or may not be sleeping with, but there’s no confusion that it’s a mean-spirited, bullying attitude that has no place in a civilised society. If hell is full of fags, well, I’m sure it will be just fabulous.