By Tiana Leonard
The groom-to-be’s emphatic response cut Larry off in mid sentence as he was reciting the vows. Gathered friends and family laughed in understanding. Stiff and Amy had waited 48 years to share those words and they were eager. Not counting her withholding college boyfriend, this was Amy’s first serious relationship. Amazingly, her 49-year-old consort was also unmarried. Maybe they had been searching for each other. When a mutual friend had introduced them in Gainesville, Florida, three years before, they had both thought the other attractive but uninterested. A year of increasingly personal online flirting followed during which they discovered that they had 60 Facebook friends in common.
In June, when Amy was back in Gainesville on summer break, she told me she was asking a man named Stiff Packard out to lunch. When I asked her later how it had gone, she said it had been fun. She told me he was studying to be a nurse and was the DJ of an internet radio jazz program. Since Amy lives in Washington DC, I didn’t give it much thought. So a few months later I was shocked to learn that Amy and Stiff were having daily two-hour phone conversations. This was momentous. Amy has been phone phobic since leaving puberty. As far as we knew she had never talked on the phone for more than a half hour with anyone. Her brother Andrew was clearly shaken. He and Amy have been close ever since my divorce from their father started them on a life of airplane travel together. During football season, they would watch the Gators play on their bicoastal TVs, texting continually on exciting plays. Andrew is divorced and his youngest child will soon be leaving for college. The prospect of losing his special relationship to Amy was wrenching. I felt the same way. Because of her academic schedule, Amy has spent every Christmas as well as spring and summer vacations with me. Now that I was a widow, I was looking forward to European trips together. Continue reading