She was in her late teens or early twenties, and alternated between being bored and man-crazy.
For both reasons, she badgered her parents nearly non-stop to let her go visit the tribe that had set up camp over the high ridge. She had visions of excitement and handsome guys.
The young men she’d grown up with just didn’t do it for her. Too ready to fit into age-old routines of work and rest, start a family, hunt and fish.
“Not me,” Lucy told her best friend, Laetoli. “I’m not ready to settle down.”
Finally her parents caved in, hoping she’d return wiser and ready to give them grandchildren.
The next morning an excited Lucy, carrying a small pack with spare clothing and a little food, headed east, glancing only a bit nervously at the volcano Sadiman she’d be passing close by. It had deposited ash on the ground shortly before but now was quiet.
After two days of walking she neared her destination, stopping first to freshen up at a pretty pond and to gather her courage.
She then nervously approached her goal. The stories she’d heard were true. The encampment was bustling. People were chatting as they eyed the newcomer. Lucy smiled shyly and several smiled back warmly.
It’s not been recorded what was said, but a generous family did let her share their shelter.
For days Lucy walked around and visited with the tribe, helping with chores as she could. She talked with several handsome young men who seemed accomplished and respected. But despite her best efforts to flirt and flatter they didn’t respond as she wished.
Truth to tell, Lucy had issues.
She walked fairly well but seemed to still have problems with bipedalism.
More importantly, she wasn’t really all that bright and hadn’t been well-educated.
Also, she was short. Very short. About three-and-a-half feet tall. And she had a markedly recessed forehead. And a thick brow. And an erupted wisdom tooth in her jaw.
Lucy had a delightful personality, but made no conquests.
Sadly, accepting the situation as best she could, she said goodbye to her new friends and headed back toward her own tribe, resigned to leaving her dreams in the dust, marrying Brut, and settling into domestic chores and parenting.
She trudged along without paying much attention to her surroundings, leaving a clear path of footprints in the wet volcanic ash from Mount Sadiman.
Descending a gentle slope she came to a stream crossing her path. Raising her pack over her head, she stepped in and headed for the other side. Suddenly, she slipped on a mossy rock and fell into deep waster. She couldn’t swim. After thrashing in the current she became weak, slipped to the bottom, and drowned.
Lucy’s parents never learned their daughter’s fate. They hoped she’d found the life she had so wanted. Eventually they, too, died and after awhile all memory of Lucy was lost. Over time, sand and mud and volcanic ash covered her body.
It was eventually recovered, at least in part, but only much later.
Much, much later.