– Hi Project, I’m Henry, how are you today?
– I’m not complaining, I feel tired, even very tired, but all in all it’s fine, and you?
– Well, I’m fine, a little upside down emotionally but well.
– This pleases me.
– Meanwhile, I congratulate you for the chat, there are truly remarkable guys.
– Thank you, but if that chat works well it’s all thanks to them, I only put a tool on the net, among other things I almost never enter the chat.
– And then, apart from the chat, also all the forum work is very interesting, even if I’m a little out of time for these things.
– What do you mean?
– I am 64 years old and I’m counting days left to retirement. And in the forum they are all young, I feel comfortable there, but I should have discovered the forum 40 years ago, now it makes me a little melancholy.
– Well, I can understand you a little bit, I’ll tell you because I say it to myself, the more you isolate yourself the faster you age, for me Project is a bit like an anti-aging drug.
– You are not wrong and I think you have a lot of people looking for you.
– I? No! Absolutely not! The first years of Project it was like that, but now serious emails is rare, I often go to look for old mail and it was something very different.
– So if you have some time, I can tell you a little about myself. Ok?
– Of course, no problem, as long as you want.
– How we lived when we were young you know it well because I’m younger than you but the decade is that. Now I don’t even remember many things, the memory is a bit confused and then I never wrote anything: no diaries, no poems, nothing, I’m not a writer. I don’t remember being gay before college and I’d say before I finished college. Of course I’ve never been straight, but maybe I was distracted by my studies and I used to think above all about my graduation, and then I only have a few flashes of that time, but I can’t remember how I really was, however I didn’t have stories with guys, at any level, just nothing. I wanted to finish my studies and work to get some money and maybe to go away on vacation every now and then, what I had never done. When I graduated, I had just turned 25 and I started working almost immediately, but it was different times, and I could also earn a lot. I went to work near Turin. It was a very demanding thing for a 25-year-old guy, but it also gave me satisfactions, especially economic, however, perhaps precisely because I was always alone, right there I began to dream and wish not to be alone anymore.Where I worked there were a lot of handsome guys, but I only saw them from afar and there was not even the possibility to exchange two words, but I used to see those guys and the reaction was melancholic and I began to think that however, I would have spent all life alone. I worked five years in the same place, I made a career, I turned 30 and I was always alone like a dog. I could hardly ever go home because my parents were from the province of Taranto and, with the means of the time, it was an unthinkable journey to stay out 1-2 days. Staying in my little apartment I became more and more melancholy every day. I was not really depressed, because I had made friends with a few people from the village and they treated me well, I used to go down to the bar to have coffee with friends from the village who came to knock on my door. One day I find a plastic bag hanging on the door handle, I bring it into the house, open it and inside there was a homemade donut and also a ticket. In practice, a lady from the neighborhood wanted to thank me because once I had gone to Turin to INPS (National Social Security Institute) to hurry up an INPS problem and I had also solved one of her problems, among other things minimal, but she had spared herself a trip to Turin. The donut is big and good, I put it in the fridge and I don’t pay too much attention to it. The next day I go to the lady and thank her, she is very ceremonious, she wants to offer me a glass of wine but I don’t drink because I’m in a hurry and everything ends there.
– Mh … but was the lady married?
– Yup! She was 27-28 years old, her husband was 42 and they also had two children, so according to my very theoretical calculations, I could feel comfortable. The fact is that after 15 days I get another donut and this time there were no INPS practices speeded up, to be taken for excuse. I go to the lady’s house and she insists to let me in, but it seems to me that there is something wrong in all this story and I make her promise a little jokingly that she will no longer send me donuts.A dozen days pass and I find another package hanging on the door, this time it was not a donut but a rustic pizza with ricotta, salami and cheese. I dutifully pass by the lady and say: “Thank you for the rustic pizza, but we had agreed …” and she says laughing, “But it’s not a donut! I made two pizzas for us, the eggs and ricotta were there and so I made one more! ” Then the lady invites me as before to take a glass of wine, but I say that I’m in a hurry, thank her and greet her. I got such gifts several times and this alarmed me a lot. See, Project, things are strange, maybe that lady had no intention to cajole or cicrcuit me, but I was afraid. Today, after so long, I’m led to think that things could have been that way just for simple sympathy and friendship, with no ulterior motive but then I was afraid and I came to the conclusion that I had to immediately look for a job somewhere else and it would have been a risky and tiring change anyway, because by now I had settled in Piedmont well and I was fine there.
– But didn’t you try to understand what the lady really had in her head?
– No! I was frightened, sending the gifts back would have been rude and above all strange, especially if she had sent them to me without any ulterior motive. I just had to look for a new job without telling anything to anyone, even at the cost of paying a couple more of months of rent and I had to go away just disappearing from one day to the next, maybe going away at night to not let them see me. In short, I now had got some experience in my sector, I take information on a company in the Veneto region of a sector very similar to the one where I had worked. Once the contract is done, I run away from Piedmont and move to Veneto and on the first day of the new job I discover that the staff is practically all female. Are you still there or have you fallen asleep?
– There I am, there I am, go ahead I follow you
– I tie the knot to my tie and go to introduce myself to my boss and I find that my boss is a woman (so to speak!).In practice a very fat lady, graduated in Economics, who was called Frances and had almost to struggle to get out of his chair, but she was very competent even if she was mainly interested in the commercial part rather than in the technical ones. We talked about my work experiences, she realized that I was not a novice and she said to me: “You have to take care of all the technical part: operating machines, plant engineering, breakdowns, maintenance and plant standard updating. I have to think about marketing. Quality control is done by Marina, which also deals with trade union and take care of administration issues, wages, illnesses, vacation periods, motherhood, etc. etc .. ” I said to her: ” But you are all women!” And she replied: “Better so, isn’t it? ” I nodded like an idiot but inside I thought I had ended up in the wrong place. Frances, Marina and I used to see each other often and since the technical work was not much, they had started to give me other assignments too. In those days the first Olivetti computers began to spread and I proposed to buy three, one for me, one for Frances and one for Marina. In those days, the purchase of three computers was a significant expense even for a company that was not really very small like the one I worked for. On a technical level, computers can also be a real revolution in the company, but there was the problem, and not so small, of teaching Frances and Marina computer programming, and I was afraid that my problems would start right from my stupid idea of inserting computers in the office, because I would have to be in close contact with two women. The computers were in the office, a small building with a dozen rooms, 50 meters from the production facilities. The work end was at 18.00 and we used to stay there even until 22.00 trying to program the computers, I wasn’t certainly a computer scientist, I knew “something” but in a very rudimentary way and therefore I had to study the night before, in order to be able teach Marina and Frances something useful the next evening. Step by step our meetings changed meaning, from PC study meetings became convivial meetings. They used to cook in the office, we ate, joked and I was relatively calm because when you are with two women the risk is minimal. The first year with Marina and Frances passed like this, all in all not bad. The following year in mid-June, Frances died of a heart attack and I was really shocked because I didn’t expect it at all. She was 41 years old and was a true friend, with a lot of common sense. She had no family and was an only child. It was an irreplaceable loss for us and for the company. In his place the property sent a fifty-year-old former accountant who as soon as he saw the computer on his desk said: “What is this for? These devices are very expensive and absolutely useless!” Marina and I looked at each other as if to say: “Where does this man come from?” But he was our boss! The “accountant”, as we called him, did not understand anything about product marketing, advertising, sales campaigns, promotion and such things. Sales collapsed and the “accountant” has had the good idea to get out of the way on his own initiative, without making too many stories, before being kicked out by the company property. After a week, Frances’ new replacement, Magda, arrives, who perhaps was able to understand something more than the accountant, indeed, even without “perhaps”, but used to behave as was the Queen of England, because she was the boss! Marina and I used to call her the Quinn! Obviously she didn’t understand anything about computers and had no intention of using them. I don’t know if the Queen was a beautiful woman, because it’s not my sector, but she had many things that I never liked: Frances and Marina didn’t put on almost any make-up, Regina instead always had a very red nail polish on her nails and a lipstick with an incredible color on his lips and she wore blouses that were too unbuttoned, tight skirts and high heels. No close-knit trio such as myself, Frances and Marina was created with her. I got along well with Marina, between us there was almost a complicity in gossiping about the Queen, however the Queen had spotted me as a possible target and I had stupidly underestimated this circumstance. I knew very few things about the Queen: that she was not married, that she was 29 years old, while Marina was 32, one more than me. One day, just before 18.00, The Queen tells me, trying not to give weight to the thing, that she wanted to discuss with me on an advertising strategy and asks me to come to her house around 20.00, I tell her it’s okay, then I I call Marina, thinking inside me that it would have been a business meeting, and say to her: “The Queen wants us to meet her at 8.00 am at het house to decide on an advertising strategy.” Marina turns around and says to me: “That … (I omit the exact term) put her eyes on you! She wants to see you alone and at her home! Watch out!” I reply: “But you are wrong! Don’t be rude, you will realize that things are not as you say!” She tells me very perplexed: “Ok! See you at five minutes to eight under Queen’s house.” Before going up we recall each other to call her Magda and not the Queen! Then we go up. When the Queen opens the door and sees that I’m not alone she has a moment of perplexity but keeps the situation under control with the utmost coldness, as a perfect manager must do. She doesn’t even let us in, she tells us that she has received an urgent phone call, that she is very sorry but she has to go away running and that we will talk about the advertising campaign tomorrow at the office and she goes away running toward her car and Marina tells me: “What did I tell you? She will take revenge against both of us for it!” I, as a good naive, I had not understood anything and I thought that the Queen had really gone away for a very urgent business, I was perplexed but Marina looked me straight in the eyes and said to me: “Wake up! You know about computers but about women I think you understand very little!”
– And how did it end?
– Well, the Queen had a soft spot for me and she was technically the boss anyway. She didn’t take revenge against me but against Marina somehow she did it. In practice, she moved Marina’s office to a corner of the production hall and so, in her opinion, she would have separated Marina from me and would have nullified her negative influences on me, and she would have been alone with me in the office building. Consider that she had occupied the most beautiful office, that of the Chief! Frances used in a much smaller office and left the larger room as a meeting room, but the Queen had taken it for herself. She felt like a manager and honestly she was a manager or something similar. I, who never went to the processing departments before, started going there every day and overhauling machines that had no need for overhaul. Marina and I used to talk every day on the phone and we maintained an excellent relationship. With the Queen it was all formal, there was just the court ceremonial. The property liked the Queen and she was objectively good at her job, that is, in practice for the property she was the hen with golden eggs. All this has been going on for some months in an embarrassing way. The Queen was very pompous and tried to seduce with power and professionalism. Please, note that between us, apart from the fact of the invitation to her house, which was technically resolved, there had never been anything at all, but while with Marina I felt totally at ease, with the Queen it was clear that there were several unspoken things. Then at some point things changed.
– What do you mean?
– I mean that the Queen, who had always been very punctual, started arriving late at the office, but not only, if before she was faultless in her dress and hair, afterwards she seemed a bit neglected, let’s say she seemed less a manager, less in the part of Her Majesty, let’s say more normal. She moved Marina’s office again and brought it back to the office building. She saw me talking often with Marina but seemed not to notice it at all, she seemed thinking of very different things. She once called the bar and ordered a breakfast for three people, and set everything in her office and invited us to his mega-office to have breakfast together and she said: “You are my collaborators (however she put herself one step higher) and I have the pleasure of having breakfast with you!” Marina was about to say: “Thanks, Majesty!” but stopped in time. Later we understood the meaning of Queen’s “benevolent” behavior, in practice she had just started a relationship with a guy, an accountant slightly older than her, and wanted to convince the property to hire him. Since there were only three people in the offices, she had thought that if the request had been made by the three of us, and had also been well motivated, in the end the property would have hired him. Clearly the Queen didn’t tell us that the accountant was her boyfriend but it was evident that she didn’t want “an” accountant, but “that” accountant. I consulted with Marina and we decided to sign the letter to the property asking to have a fourth person on the staff. Since then the Queen began to call us by name because we were actually her accomplices. As the Queen had foreseen, the accountant was hired, his name was Conrad and frankly he wasn’t that handsome, and I was a true expert on guys, at least from an aesthetic point of view. The Queen and Conrad used to spend hours together closed in the mega-office and it was evident that they had an affair, but from my and Marina’s point of view this fact had a certain usefulness, because for us practically the Queen no longer existed, now she trusted us 100% and we were finally calm. And here my relationship with Marina had a very important turning point.
– What do you mean?
– Marina was the first person I came out with. We used to meet also outside the office, I went to her house (she lived alone) and she came to my house, we had dinner together, but it was clear that there was no other kind of involvement neither on her part nor on mine. One evening she was at my house and we started talking about the Queen, first with the usual teasing tones, and then, slowly the conversation became more personal and I said to myself: “I can trust her!” and so I told Marina that I couldn’t stand the bahavior of the Queen because I was gay and I would never go with a woman. She didn’t get upset in the least and said to me: “Well, what can I tell you about me? I don’t know what I’m but I think I could also go with a man … ” That answer needed no further comments. Since then Marina has become my point of reference, she was not just a friend, she was a person really able to understand me, because after all she used to live things not very far from how I lived them. But the story with Marina didn’t end there.
– Can you be more explicit?
– Neither I nor she had a love life and we started doing things similar to what married couples do, we used to go on a trip on the weekends and also during the summer holidays, ten days together each day in a different hotel around Italy, always with separate rooms, but we used to spend the whole day together and they always considered us as a couple but it was not clear to the hoteliers why we took two single rooms. But, I swear to you, these things, with Marina, were not hedging behaviors to make appear what was not real, they were absolutely spontaneous. We had made a pact, if I or she had found other types of involvement, on a personal level, between us, nothing would have changed, we certainly wouldn’t have gone on vacation together any more but we would have loved each other exactly as before. I swear to you, I’m not bisexual, for Marina I felt no attraction of another kind, not even the slightest, for me she was a special friend but not in the sexual sense that is generally given to this expression. For example, we went on vacation together but the idea of living together never occurred to us, neither to me nor to her. At the time we were little more than thirty years old, now she is 65 years old and she is an old and somewhat decayed woman, just like me. The situation is still this and now I think it will remain this.
– And on the strictly gay side?
– On that side I used to daydream a lot, but then when I was young, in a small town in the Catholic Veneto, what could I find? The place was very small, the chances of getting to know other gays were minimal if not null, because since those days I stayed there permanently and I’m still there. They always saw me with Marina and slowly over the decades they all took it for granted that we were together and someone really thought that she was my wife even if we live in different houses. I don’t know if my relationship with Marina may have turned the guys away from me, frankly I don’t think so, also because in the village I have never heard of gays, neither positively nor negatively, and I’ve been there for many years now. And then, maybe when you’re young you can also think of accepting to take some risks, but slowly, when you pass the 40 what do you do? Can you put your peace of mind at risk for something 99% not concrete? No! You can’t do it. What time is it? 2.40! I think I really have to go to sleep!
– Meanwhile, thank you for this chat which is beautiful and I wanted to ask you if I can publish it.
– Yes, of course, but change the names.
– Do you think Marina could be upset to see her story on a Project site?
– Not at all! It’s impossible! I showed her the Forum and she was very curious. Rest assured that it’s fine. Now I’m going. Goodnight Project!
– Goodnight Henry, and thanks!
– Thank you! Good night!
If you want, you can participate in the discussion on this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-the-true-story-of-a-64-year-old-gay