I met him when I was in the army. He joined the same period as me, February 2005, in the same training base, in central Greece. I didn’t run into him straight away though. A month passed before they separated those of us that were meant to be trained as sergeants. He had the bed next to mine so we got to know each other very well. We were sent to the same military base for three months as well after that.
He’s medium built with very broad shoulders from all the years of rowing. Five years older than me with dark skin, long dark hair to his shoulders, very round face and dark eyes. Most of his family comes from Istanbul but he’s born and raised in Thessaloniki. I always remember him smoking rolled cigarettes and telling various stories. He’s been a boy scout ever since he can remember. He’s one of the few that stayed a boy scout during his adult life, earning ranks and accompanying children to excursions, trips and various other activities. His other major passion in life is the sea. He loves to sail and his big dream in life is to become a professional full time skipper.
The Boy Scout is what you call a very good lad. He’s the one that knows how to behave, have good manners, is intelligent and reliable. We kept close the months of our service. The bond some people create when they go through the same tough situation is something unique. This kind of friendship bonded the Boy Scout and me. Living in the same base made us share most of things, apart from one. I never told him I’m gay.
I met his then girlfriend and some of his friends and we hang around a lot, even outside the base. Since I had some girlfriends in the past and I was extremely closeted then (you can’t be gay in the army), it’s wasn’t very difficult for me to play the part of the straight army boy. I also knew that there was an expiry date on the time I served there so I thought that it wouldn’t matter if I lied a bit.
After the end of our service, I only saw him a couple of times during some army reunions or for an occasional coffee or drink now and then. It was too late to tell him I’m gay by then and I was making my plans to leave for the UK anyway. When he heard that I was leaving, his comment was to be careful not to be ‘turned to the wicked side’ as he put it. There’s a common joke in Greece that there are way too many homosexuals in London so he was simply referring to that. I already knew that he was a homophobe from various comments made during our service so I simply didn’t say anything.
It’s been years since then and I kept seeing him only sporadically during some visits to Greece. He kept asking me how my sex life’s going and if I found any interesting nice girl abroad and I always replied generally that he shouldn’t worry and I’m doing fine, I’m getting all the fun I need.
Recently however he contacted me that he’ll try to make his dream come true. He’s registered for a sailing course from the Royal Sailing/ Yachting Club in England to get a special degree of some sorts (I can’t remember the details) that will a tremendous help in his sailing career. He’d like to stay a few days in my place to visit a British doctor to get a health check certificate needed to start the course and also travel to the place where the Club is based. So, I agreed and he came… (I don’t know why sometimes I simply can’t say no)…
So, in a way I had to become that same lying person again that I don’t really like. Thankfully ‘JJ’ was working these days so we couldn’t meet much anyway. We met only once in Camden Market and for dinner but I had told him to keep some kind of distance (I do feel guilty about that). We are not very intimate out in the public anyway. (I’m such a bitch).
I tried to speak to the Boy Scout. I saw however that he made a bad comment about a small Banksy drawing I have of the two policemen kissing in my room (which at least I had the dignity not to hide). He also made a bad comment about Almodovar’s movies when I tried to open a discussion about it and I decided it’s no use. I don’t think I can open his eyes one bit. He can be a really nice well mannered good guy but with some major issues coming from a very conservative Greek religious background.
After meeting JJ the boy Scott stopped asking me questions about girls. I’m not sure if he suspected something was going on but we didn’t talk about it. I do felt bad though. I felt like I was going backwards, being untrue to everything I believed and fought for. I was able to come out to my parents but not to some random bloke from my past. I still do have my issues to solve, I know. It’s like I’m a complete different person when it comes to dealing with people from my past and my present. Anyway, that’s my shameful story I’m sharing with you… I’ll try to work on that.
I know that he'd never understand. But I also don't know why I keep these people in my life...