Our Side of the Mountain: Chapter 1

IN WHICH I Get Started on This Venture

chapters : one | two | three

I can’t recall the first time I saw him for sure, but I do remember the first time we spoke. It was in February 1999, on a warm, sunlit evening, walking down to the Opera House for the launch of the Mardi Gras Festival. A group of my friends had arranged to go to the event together; we met in Oxford Street and wandered down to the harbour. I suppose Brent and I had already met – I knew who he was – but we’d never really spoken before that night.

As we walked down Macquarie Street and chatted, I remember thinking how handsome he was, being impressed by his abundant charm, that smile, that air of worldly wisdom. I also remember thinking "What a sexy man … he’d never be interested in me." It was many months later before I found out he was thinking exactly the same thing.

We got to the Opera House steps where the event was taking place. In the melée, with 20,000 or so queers frantically air-kissing and "Happy Mardi Gras"ing … he disappeared. Over the next three months we ran into each other here and there. He was always just as beautiful and sweet as always … and pretty much always in the company of his boyfriend. Oh well.

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The chapter headings and the background line drawings in this section are from My Side of The Mountain, by Jean Craighead George.