strange to talk about it now -- to take something so private
and place it in such a public place -- particularly since
keeping it secret was so important when I was younger. I
imagine I must have been about sixteen, and I had just about
figured out that I was gay. Tony was nearly fifteen -- I
went to school with him, although he was in a different
year. I met him at a society at
He was everything that I didn't feel that I was: confident,
athletic and attractive. I had been incredibly quiet ... it
was an all-boys' school and being gay was not really an
option. I just tried to keep out of everyone's way, out of
the firing line. No one knew, but my reticence and retiring
nature were apparently as worthy of derision.
Tony, I guess because he was younger than I was, didn't have
any of these preconceptions, and I felt more confident with
him. He treated me like a human being. It was fun and
I was vulnerable and desperate for some form of affirmation.
So I suppose it was inevitable that I should fall for him.
The next year there was a school trip to Greece, and we both
went. I introduced him to heavy drinking (on Greek brandy)
and I got to know some of his friends. I was slightly
uncomfortable with their age, but at the same time it was
such a relief not to be relentlessly judged. I listened to
bad songs and felt that they meant something to me. I wrote
relentlessly in a little red and black book, which wandered
between teenage confessional and clumsy porn novel.
I never told him, although I think he knew.
Shortly after leaving school I finally came out to a friend
of mine, who was then introduced to this interior world. He
found it extremely funny, and with him, I came to realize
exactly how trivial the whole thing was. And when I went to
University I completely forgot about it.
Ten years later, it still seems so trivial.
He had been the major crush of my teenage years. I still see
him now. He has not achieved the heights that my
hormone-dazed eyes thought he would -- he is, after all, a
flawed and clumsy human. But I still feel an astonishing
fondness for him.
I didn't really think it would happen but -- even as I have
become entirely comfortable with being gay, had
relationships, succeeded in my work and generally become a
more open, gregarious and confident person -- he still
occupies a part of my head, and I feel warm when I think
It's not the same by any means ... god knows I am not in
love with him anymore.
But loving him was what I built my gay identity around --
and in some ways, I could not have asked for surer