I think I always knew…

From the age of five I liked girls. I wanted to play mummy and daddies, I wanted to be the daddy.   We sometimes played the sound of music.   I wanted to be one of the brothers.   I played football, better than some of the boys. I dreamt of kissing girls.  I was jealous of friend’s boyfriends although I did have boyfriends of my own and had the usual clumsy fiddles of sexual exploration on bodies that repulsed and scared me.

By the time I was 18 I had full sex twice with a boy which left me wondering what all the fuss was about.   There was something wrong and I didn’t know what it was.

I played hockey. I listened to, and joined in with, the whispers and giggles about the sexuality of our PE teachers.  I always felt awkward about this and a little fascinated but still the penny didn’t drop.

My life at this time revolved around a hockey pitch.  I was chosen to play for Scotland, I was a star in my own little world and I wanted to carry on playing hockey but decided (much to my mum’s horror!) to join the Womens Royal Army Corp rather than go on to college or university.

It was when I joined this world of women I realised why my life had always felt a little lost in my life.

I was gay and I was scared.

My first experience was with a woman a little older than me, and a higher rank than me which meant that she had her own room, or bunk as we called them.

Her name was Chris.   Chris had a girlfriend who had recently been posted to another camp.  Her girlfriend did visit on occasional weekends but mostly Chris was on her own.

I always got on with Chris, I trusted her and liked her.  She became the person I turned to when my thoughts and feelings about my sexuality became too much for me to try to understand on my own.

We had a little routine, a couple of cheap bottles of wine, some crisps and some nice music playing in the background.  She would lie on her single bed and I would lie on the floor resting my head against a black and white checked stuffed dog.  We would talk, mostly about how confused I felt and about how much she missed her girlfriend.

One night, after a few too many drinks, I stood up to go to the bathroom and tripped over the dog, resulting in its head being forever sloped to one side.  I named the dog “My life”, which for some reason we found hysterically funny.

A few nights later, around a bottle or so wine down, Chris suddenly sat up and looked at me.

“Take your clothes off and get into bed”

I didn’t reply.  I just did what I was told.

She slipped off her clothes and slid into the single bed beside me.

I remember the feeling of total panic, excitement and want all mixed up together.  I was scared stiff, but I wanted to touch her so much.

“I don’t know what to do” I blurted out.

She kissed me then.  A soft, warm kiss.  “Just do what comes naturally” she whispered and kissed me again.

I felt her skin against mine, I felt her arms slide round me as she pulled me closer and I just knew what I had to do, I didn’t think, I didn’t plan .. I just reacted to my feelings

She was the first woman I heard cry out my name and shout for God all at once.

For the first time in my life I felt as I belonged.  I had come home.

We fell again into each others arms.  She snuggled against me and we slept.

Over the next few weeks (apart from when her girlfriend came to visit!), Chris continued to act as my mentor, advising, letting me explore, experiment, live out fantasies.  She taught me a lot, she gave me confidence.

One day she turned to me and said, “we have to stop this, you know enough now”

I wasn’t hurt.  I wasn’t in love with her, I always knew she was giving me a very special gift that I would take on with me.

I bought her a couple of bottles of wine.  She gave me “My life”

A week later I met my first great love.. lets call her “M” I was her first lover and her first love and she was the one who opened my heart and my mind to everything that loving someone should be..

I showed her everything that Chris had given me and we played and explored and loved each other in a deep passionate way.

Roll the clock forward 30 years.   I’m sitting in a converted barn with “M” and her female partner.   The log burner is giving out a beautiful light, I am sitting on the sofa and Maggie is lying beside me with her head on my lap and I am stroking her hair as her partner sits on the floor in front of us.

“I can really see what you two seen in each other” she says “M” has always said you taught her everything she knows and I would like to thank you for that”

“M” and I laughed and I wished I could tell that to Chris.

She had given me a gift that I passed on and “M” in turn had passed on.

Thank you Chris.