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But it wasn’t always so. There were times when it seemed she felt the need to establish lines, past which she would not go. Separating “hers” from “ours”. Cars, for example. She drives a Mercedes; I drive a Corvette. And even when we had a lot of stuff to throw in the back, she was reluctant to take hers. This became a problem, both emotionally and logistically. Of all the reasons to own a Corvette, nowhere in the brochure is there mention of ample trunk space.

Almost feral, she could become. Like animals do when they feel threatened. Reverting to a wild state where self-preservation is the only motivation. I asked why she’d go there. She replied that it was natural for her, “because I’ve been on my own for a long time.”

Still, we moved forward. One night, while I was trying to find the words, she said, “You’re dancing around it. What is it you want to say?” I told her I loved her; she said she loved me. Later, she asked, “So, what are you going to do with me?”

“Love you, respect you and hold onto you as tightly as I can”, I said.

“Good answer.”

We lasted a couple months, then had a Kids-Behaving-Badly moment, which led to our first Adult Time-Out. It lasted a couple of weeks. The second first date was at her house. I told her the only crime we really committed was in trying to fly too close to the sun. I think she believed me. Anyway, like the old Dave Mason song, “It was like he never left”.

Because of an addiction to the Sirius Pulse channel, Leasa knew more about today’s music than a roomful of Millennials. I was more Rock n’ Roll, introducing her to groups like O.A.R. and the BoDeans. O.A.R’s “Dangerous Connection” became Our First Song, a song we agreed must have been written about us.

We spent July 4th at a concert on the beach and a fireworks show on San Diego Bay. Because of traffic, I had to drop her off, find a place to park and then walk back. It took about 30 minutes. Afterward, with chairs, coolers and all the other stuff to carry, it was more like 45 minutes to reach the car. “It took a lot less time, the first time”, she remarked. “You have to remember, I was a lot younger then”, I replied.

She laughed, one of those deep, uncontrollable, until stuff-comes-out-of-your nose laughs while I put her in the car. She quickly fell asleep.

It took two hours to drive back and every few minutes, I stole a glance. In the soft glow of the dashboard lights, I’d never seen a face more beautiful or a soul more at peace.