Building a house from the earth, that was the real thing. My first wife was a palaeontologist, and she knew everything about everything. She was a landowner when we met, in that she owned tracts of semi-cultivated scrubland. Her parents were ambassadors to Latvia, living on the mouth of the River Daugava where it opens to the Baltic Sea. I knew this before I first laid eyes on her, our mutual friends had told me in advance of meeting her. I was immediately and extremely attracted to her. I bought Timberlands to match hers. These would be useful to me later, I like to think that I justified their purchase.
I called Laurie my first wife, even then. ‘This is my first wife,’ I would introduce her to people this way, to my parents and flight attendants. She found this funny. ‘You’re so funny,’ she offered to me. I tried so hard.
Embrace Australia’s finest writers: subscribe to Meanjin
Subscriptions start at just $5 a month — which goes directly towards our writers’ fees.