Roughly ten years ago, I was walking a friend’s dog along a country lane on the small island in Puget Sound where I live. He was a very well-trained hunting dog; if you told him to “heel” he did so immediately and stayed, happily, right by your side, abundant sniffable dog distractions notwithstanding.
On that day, striding many yards ahead of me, I saw a tall, slender, blond woman with two large dogs on leashes. As the distance closed between us she heard our approach, whipped around, and barked, “Get that dog on a lead!”
Two things occurred to me immediately. One, she must be British, as “lead” is a British term for leash. Two, she must be the one I have been waiting for because, after all, she’s already yelling at me! I was right on both counts. (As it turned out, her outburst was due to having been attacked by a stray dog only minutes before; she was and is a sweet and wonderful woman).
And so we met, we dated, we married, and years later we divorced…but have remained dear friends. It is a matter of mutual admiration, abiding friendship, and an affection which has changed form but not diminished. As I’ve said, we live on a small island. Inevitably, we run into each other. And it is always a joy for me, if sometimes a heart-skipping one.
I don’t know how she feels about that horribly commercialized holiday, Valentine’s Day, which rolls around this month, but she will be “my” valentine still and my heart will send her flowers. Our past contains a rich history of companionship, respect, and admiration which does not seem to have aged. It is, to me, like the diamond that was once on her ring finger: forever. And forever to be honored.
We have all loved. Many of us have loved and lost. Sometimes there is rancor. I have been lucky. Perhaps you have been, too. On this holiday, I hope all of us can wrap our hearts around that which was once precious and, truly, never really dies.
In celebration of love, I have just released my three most romantic novels as a boxed set called: Second Chances: Love Stories for Grownups. This February, may I suggest that they would make a thoughtful gift for someone you love…or have loved…or hope will find love once again.