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My most romantic moment: a handsome man brought me a sandwich – and I knew he was a keeper

As a pupil barrister, fighting to meet a court deadline, I had no time to stop for lunch. When the guy I’d been texting dropped off sustenance anyway, our relationship began to change.

There is a saying among pupil barristers in their first – particularly gruelling – year of training: “Do not end a relationship during pupillage, but do not start one, either.” The adage speaks to the intense nature of that time and the absence of space for a personal life. The hours can be relentless; weekends are nonexistent, particularly for a young criminal barrister. The criminal justice system doesn’t have the weekend off, so neither do you.

Of course, that didn’t stop me from frequenting London’s gay bars during any moment of downtime I could find. One Sunday afternoon, sitting in chambers and desperately trying to meet a deadline for court the next day, I let my mind slip to thoughts of the handsome Irish guy I had met a few weeks earlier during one of those rare moments of respite. With a mountain of work in front of me and not enough hours in the day left to conquer it, I did what any sensible person would do: I texted him to say hi.

We were soon exchanging messages and he asked me if I had time for a quick break. Although he wasn’t working that day, he had to grab something from his office, which was in the area. I was tempted, not least because I was starving, and I told him as much. But I didn’t have the time and, in any event, nothing nearby was open. On any other day of the week, the City would have been buzzing, but on Sunday it sleeps.

The handsome Irish guy graciously offered to stop being a distraction. Having not eaten all day, I became increasingly stressed and tired. The combination clouded my judgment and, instead of feeding myself, I resolved that securing sustenance would be a waste of precious time. Between a review of section 9 of the Theft Act 1968 and the sentencing guidelines on domestic burglary, I thought mainly of the Nando’s I would order as a reward for my hard work when I got home.

My dreams of grilled halloumi were interrupted by a ping from my phone. A message from the handsome Irish guy: “I’ve dropped a sandwich and a yoghurt off at reception. I hope you like tuna and blueberries. Not together though. That would be weird.”

I rushed to reception, telling myself that it was because I was hungry, but knowing it was because I wanted to catch a glimpse of him. I didn’t, which made his gesture all the more perfect.

After inhaling the food, I texted a good friend to tell her what had happened. “I thought you weren’t supposed to start a relationship during pupillage?! He sounds like a keeper,” she replied. Notwithstanding his failure to deliver the cheeky Nando’s of my dreams, she was right. We have been together for seven years, got married a few months ago and have shared many a halloumi pitta since.

Originally published in The Guardian

Illustration: Leon Edler/The Guardian


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