We married late in life, Shirley and me: I was 41; Shirley, 44. Before Shirley, I had loved and been loved, but I had never married. The same was true for her.
When I met Shirley I was living in a bright and beautiful one bedroom apartment, by the beach in St Kilda. Years earlier, I had moved into the flat in a state of despair; my life was a mess.
In those early months, the flat was sparsely furnished and its rooms were drab and cold. As I pieced my life back together, the apartment took shape and I pushed the windows open. As I re-made my inner world, so my outer world was formed.
Those were, to begin with, hard, uncertain years – but they taught me self-respect and self-reliance and, in many ways, were the making of me. Soon after that, I met Shirley.