It was her smile that entranced me. It was so open, so happy, so refreshingly sane, at once mischievously funny and worldly wise and, above all, full of love.
She was 19 and I was 23. Our first encounter was not across a crowded room, or on a dance floor, but in the otherwise thoroughly unromantic environment of her father’s legal chambers where she was working over the summer holidays.
It was January 1978 and I had been sent by The Bulletin to interview the Honourable (and frighteningly formidable) Thomas Eyre Forrest Hughes QC.
I would like to think she was as smitten with me as I was with her, but I suspect the arrival of any sentient being vaguely her own age was a pleasant distraction from cross-referencing Tom’s hundreds of dusty volumes of law reports.
We quickly became best friends and have stayed that way. She makes me laugh. We have always found each other amusing.
I was so in love and so worried I would lose her that I asked her to marry me soon after we met. She said we should wait until we grew up. Thankfully, we didn’t (it is not entirely clear that men ever grow up, of course) and we were married two years later, in 1980.
It is almost impossible to be sad in Lucy’s company. She is hardly ever down; she is as bouncy, as optimistic today as she was when I met her. Lucy is one of those few people who light up every room she enters.
And bouncy is the right word. I vividly recall coming back to Australia from the UK, where I was studying, and being met by Lucy at the airport. She was so excited to see me, she was jumping up and down – prouncing (bouncing and prancing at the same time) – and then I started jumping up and down, and then we were both jumping up and down hugging each other until we realised how crazy we looked and fell about laughing.
Both our respective sets of parents had been divorced and we were determined not to be. Despite very busy, often distracting lives, we have always tried to make lots of time to be with each other.
I think this has been a very wise move – it is so easy between the demands of children and career to lose any time for each other, to lose the space in which the romance that brought you together in the first place can continue to thrive.
Yet, truthfully, we have been so lucky in so many ways. To meet the love of your life at all, let alone at such a young age, is such a blessing.
Over the years, we have grown together. It is almost impossible to imagine, let alone remember, what it was like not to be together, so much so that I have a much clearer sense of “Lucy and me” than I do of “me”.