I’ve known Katie since I was five years old.
We sat side by side in Mrs Robinson’s grade one class and became instant bosom buddies in that Anne of Green Gables/Diana Barry, Mary Tyler Moore/Rhoda Morgenstern, Laverne De Fazio/Shirley Feeney kind of way.
She was the girl with the sparkly, mischievous eyes. I was the girl whose parents dropped her at school in an orange Leyland P76. Nevertheless, we were united by our love for Leif Garrett and HR Pufnstff.
Since that fateful first meeting, our friendship has gone on to span 40 years.
Primary school, high school, university, first loves, first jobs, first perms, first dates. Last dates. We have seen each other through it all. Katie’s dad being diagnosed with terminal cancer. The stillbirth of my daughter Georgie. My Vegas wedding (and, er, my quickie divorce). Her revelation that she was gay.
There was the year she took me by the shoulders and shook me out of an emotionally abusive relationship. And the time I gently pointed out the long-distance love affair she was in had ended long ago.
And in between all of this we talked of love. Finding it. Keeping it. Losing it. Screwing it up. The times it was unrequited. The times our hearts were smashed up, so bruised we thought we’d never recover. We despaired some days of ever meeting ‘the one’. We wondered and pondered and worried and stressed about whether we would ever find someone who would truly love us. Get us. Cherish the weird, stupid, foolish bits we so often tried to hide from the world. We talked about babies. And weddings. And houses by the beach. And raising kids who would be best friends and love the Counting Crows’ August and Everything After album as much as we did.
When I met and married my husband Brad, Katie stood next to me and cheered me on as though the wedding was her own.
And then she met Sascha. And I knew.
I knew from the first time I heard the way Katie’s voice changed, softened, floated when she first mentioned Sascha’s name.
Listen: If only Malcolm Turnbull had said this... (Post continues after audio.)
I knew from the photos I saw. Their eyes. Their smiles. That look someone has when finally they are truly themselves, comfortable in their own skin. Loved unconditionally.