‘They do everything together. Lovely to see friendship like that.’
My parents were delighted when Graham bought a house next door to David.
‘How lucky they were it came up for sale!’
Mum had a close affinity to David, an avid traveller who loved the mountains, just like her. David planned all the trips while Graham took the photos. Not photos, slides. Much better reproduction, they agreed. They had slide shows and Mum and David recommended places in Switzerland and Austria to each other. David and Graham went on holiday together every summer. It was the highlight of their year. Their journeys were legendary.
I liked David. He was chatty and sociable whereas Graham retired into the background. But he was okay. We invited them both to our wedding and they came.
I was upset when Mum said David wasn’t talking to his parents any more. She didn’t know why. She’d tried asking his Mum, Auntie Beryl – not a real aunt, but every older lady was an aunt in those days – but had got nowhere. ‘Don’t like to pry,’ she said, ‘so I didn’t press the matter.’ None of us could understand why such an easy-going, likeable character like David would cause a family rift.
I was an innocent. We were then. I knew little about the world. I didn’t ever consider their friendship was more than just brotherly affection. Took decades before realisation hit me. Mum never knew. She wouldn’t have believed it if someone had spelled it out.
How sad they had to buy neighbouring houses! I never saw a single expression of intimacy, never a touch. A secret, fearful life. They were teachers; they couldn’t risk their jobs. It was illegal in the early sixties; they couldn’t endanger their freedom.
But they did do everything together.