That’s what Friends are for Part 1

This is the first part of a two-part story to be continued next week. It’s a change from my usual light-hearted tales and does have a serious message. 

Warning: This story contains sexual content and swearing, and might not be suitable for children.

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Despite the reputation of the swinging sixties it was not always the shagging era it was purported to be. Although some girls gave their all to hormone driven boys, many adhered to the standards installed by their parents and remained virgins until their wedding day.

Not having met the right partner, I concentrated on my career and remained single. Listening to the whinges of my peers with their lazy husbands and demanding kids, I was relieved I had only myself to worry about. My life was full. I had money to spend and no one to answer to, even if sometimes it would have been nice to have someone special sharing my bed.

Then I met Joseph through work. He was a lovely man, kind, funny, gentle, good looking and Gay! We became great friends and I found myself discussing things with him that I never talked about with even my closest girlfriends. I also learnt more about the trials and tribulations faced by the ordinary men and women who were not ‘normal’ in their sexual preferences.

Gay marriages are now commonplace and even acknowledged by law. Despite so-called ‘free love’ it wasn’t that many years ago ‘Nancy-boys, Poufs and Dykes’ were scorned by society.

Joseph’s father was a Macho army general, his mother a brow beaten housewife whose husband’s word was law. Joe was very insecure and couldn’t believe anyone would be able to love him for himself. I tried to convince him of his worth as a human being, but sometimes lost patience. His upbringing had robbed him of all his confidence. Secretly I wept and raged at the bully of a father and the mouse of a mother who had let their lovely son lose all his self-respect.

After a disagreement we always made up with hugs and kisses, as true friends should. He introduced me to the gay club scene. We provided mutual support to get rid of unwanted suitors, whilst still allowing space to get to know someone who could be interesting. I had never had lesbian tendencies but, male or female, I found the clientele welcoming, friendly, charming, affectionate and just plain nice.

What a change from the straight pubs and clubs where you were either fighting off leering, drunken nerds who wouldn’t take no for an answer, or defending yourself against bitchy females when the guy they fancied was chatting you up. I still kept in contact with my straight friends, but spent most of my time in the company of Joseph and his crowd.

In the gay clubs, just saying ‘Sorry, I’m straight,’ to the female who had been sizing you up as a potential lover usually brought forth a polite apology. From then on you could have a friendly chat about where you bought your lovely top, boyfriends, girlfriends and the meaning of life. The men were the same. Although they came in all shapes and sizes it wasn’t always about sex. Having an intelligent conversation, flirting, dancing, drinking and ending the evening with a hug and genuine affection made for some great nights.

‘Ami, I’ve met him, the man of my dreams. I so want my two most favourite people in the world to be friends. Come to dinner tomorrow night, so I can introduce you.’

‘Joe, that’s wonderful. I’m so pleased for you.’

However much I tried, I just didn’t take to Sebastian. He had a way of sneering as if he was superior to everyone else, and to my mind he treated Joseph like dirt. Time and time again I had to comfort him when Sebastian let him down. He had a habit of trying to make Joseph look small in front of company, and generally seemed to go out of his way to upset him.

I was torn between not interfering and giving Sebastian a very large piece of my mind. Mainly I bit my tongue and was just there to offer Joseph support when he ended up at my place in floods of tears.

Once I had comforted him, I did try gentle hints that maybe he could find someone better. In Joseph’s eyes Sebastian could do no wrong and he always blamed himself. The months passed until one day, when I went to give him my usual friendly hug, he cried out in pain and pulled away.

‘Honey, what’s wrong?’ I asked. He insisted it was nothing and told me he had just tripped over the cat and scraped off some skin.

I let it go that time but when the same thing happened a few weeks later, I insisted he let me put on some ointment to stop any infection. Reluctantly he agreed, took his shirt off and turned his back towards me. I was horrified! This wasn’t just a few grazes. His back was covered in deep welts and scarcely healed bloody scars.

‘Joseph! What on earth happened? You need proper medical treatment, not just a few sticking plasters.’

‘It’s OK. Really. Seb was really sorry. He just got a bit carried away.’

‘What do you mean? Seb did this to you? The animal! You should get him arrested!’

‘No, it’s OK. We were just fooling about. He wanted to try some different things and I said all right. He didn’t mean to hurt me. He said it wouldn’t happen again.’

‘Hang on a minute. Won’t happen again? Tell me the truth. Did you really trip over the cat a few weeks ago?’

‘Well, it was a sort of cat. With nine tails.’

‘Joseph! You mean this was the second time?’

‘Well actually it was the fourth but he does love me. It’s just his way of showing how much.’

I couldn’t get my head around it. If you loved someone you gave them hugs and kisses, not beat them black and blue. Now, more than ever, I hated Sebastian. I wanted Joseph to break away from him and find a decent man who loved him for himself.

Maybe his bullying father and weak Mother had left him with scars that would never heal. I found myself hating them for what they had done to my friend, even though they were both now dead and I had never met them. Someone had to help him and that someone was going to be me!

OK Sebastian, you bastard, you want a fight? You’ve got one! No one does that to my friend and gets away with it. Joe might not be strong but I am. Let’s see just how brave you are when you’re up against someone who sees your crap for what it is.

To be continued.

© Voinks September 2017


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