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Copyright © 2003 by Ralph Robert Moore.
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october 18, 2003
This past Tuesday, October 14, was Mary's 50th birthday.
I met Mary when she was twenty-five, meaning we've now lived together half her lifetime.
We started out as friends, two people who by chance were seated next to each other at a Christmas party in a restaurant in Santa Barbara, California, back in 1978, who started talking to each other, soon during that conversation over appetizers realizing we had each met someone we really enjoyed talking to, to where we were constantly interrupting each other, joyfully. By the time dessert was put down on the white linen tablecloth, we both knew our conversing had led to an intense attraction intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual.
We worked for the same company. I had noticed Mary, and in fact we had had a few brief conversations prior, water cooler type encounters, and even then, in that briefness, I had felt the red throb one so rarely feels in life, of someone kindred.
After that Christmas party I asked her out for lunch a couple of times, she each time demurring (we were both married to other people), but eventually I joked her into agreeing. If I remember correctly, we went to a McDonald's, which showed it wasn't about lunch, it was about us, the wild two of us, waiting in line together.
After a few such lunches, we took to driving each early evening after work to the beach at Isla Vista, sitting on a park bench facing the ocean, talking to each other. For the first time in either of our lives, we each finally met someone with whom everything made sense. Sometimes we'd just sit side by side, not needing to talk at all, just be in the other's presence. I can still feel the tingle of her sitting next to me, in that early, chaste stage of "us", yet untouched, unkissed.
During those early beach evenings, our heads bent towards each other, drinking beer, laughing, already sharing secret words, we fell in love.
In the decades since, we've traveled across forty-nine states, most of the Canadian provinces, have shared thousands of meals, a fleet of ocean liners worth of laughs. We still hold hands when we walk anywhere, Mary's beauty still takes my breath away, and there's not a single moment when I place my palm against my ribcage I don't feel, beating reliably within, her heart.
Happy birthday, birthday baby.
The information page I created for stroke patients and caregivers is now up. It's located here.