OK, I'm kinda cheating, I just wanted to get something out there! This is the Dr Livingstone moment when two characters start to really get to know each other - and one of them is pretty startled.!
‘I always thought that my parents were just in the routine of giving us all girls names…..’ explained Hilary. ‘I’d get the piss taken out of me at school something rotten, but then I’d either give them something else to talk about, or we’d move - again.’
‘Sounds a bit unsettling.’
‘In a way. But the advantages included my absolutely having to become a quite gregarious boy. I got to have a real bit of fun sometimes, too - trying out different sides of my personality on new people, who’d be none the wiser. Great way to reinvent yourself, always being on the move. My one self-imposed limit was never to be boring – I mean, when you have a name like Hilary Wilson-Jones, people sort of expect a certain panache. Or is that just me? Actually, no, it’s probably just me. Not that I give a damn!’
‘Bit flash, I s’pose…..’
‘I can live with flash.’ I asked him to tell me about some of his adopted personas: One time, he’d decided to be a goth: ‘It was kinda fun, at first, getting to weird people out, pretending to be into Satanism and suchlike. But my mother refused, point blank, for me to dye my hair, so, as you can see, I was never really going to corner that particular market….’ (he tugged at his floppy blonde hair) ‘Of course, it got really useful a bit later on, when sex entered the equation. Who was I going to be today? Your straight mate, a bi guy or a big old queer leer?’
‘And? Who were you?’
‘Well, I gave them all a bash, if you forgive the expression, but I am gay.’ Hilary bit his lip, and looked straight my way. ‘I hope that’s not a problem. I’ve got no idea who or what you are, really – I sort of hope you might be gay, because, well, just to spell it out, I think you’re quite cute, in your own twisted way. And I pick up on that sort of thing, quite instinctively - normally. But if your not, well……Oh s***, I’ve done what I always do, haven’t I? Said too much. Sorry, David. I’m a bit pissed, too.’
Could I even tell the difference? ‘Um, I don’t think I’m gay, but thank you anyway. Nice to know someone is on my side.’ That’s what I said: what I was thinking was ‘How the hell do I get out of here?’. Normality was boring, depressing as hell, but safe and familiar. But it was getting late now, and I’d been so engrossed in chatting, I hadn’t taken any notice of the way we’d come – to get a bus back home.
‘I’m so hammered….. know what? I think I’d better get to bed before I pass out.’ He did, muttering something about having ‘screwed up royally’, got undressed, and unceremoniously flopped into it. I eyed the sofa – it looked like I’d be waking up with a bad back in the morning.