He had earned the stamp of "loser" in his father-in-law's eyes. Worse, he was less a man to his wife Jean. When a possum tried to move in a few months after they purchased their little two-bedroom ... [+]
They had met at university through the Queer Department's annual disco – he'd spotted Dan in the soft light of the dance floor, sticky shoes carrying him through sweat-licked bodies, wearing a smile that could take him anywhere.
On their first date, Dan picked him up in his beat-up Hyundai Excel which groaned along Tonkin Highway as they crossed the Swan River. They went ice skating at an indoor rink in Malaga, then drove to Scarborough Beach and ran naked into the summer-warmed waves before embracing for a soft kiss as the water lapped at their waists.
Several months into their relationship he realised he was in love with Dan. During exam period, they had been shopping in Coles. Stressed and tired and irritable, Dan had paused barefoot by the tea section, noticed they were stocking the brand his grandmother always had at her house when he was a child, picked it up, and smiled. That was the moment.
They moved into an apartment in Northbridge together. They both graduated and started their careers. They became parents. Their challenges and joys were each other's. He knew Dan's smile lines better than his own.
He was standing at the deli counter waiting for his ticket to be called when he realised he wasn't in love with Dan anymore.
And it felt sudden, like the shock of waves on his body during their first date, but he knew that he had fallen out of love the same way he had fallen in – slowly, in moments, like each step that had taken them across the dance floor and into the ocean.