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February 14, 2001: You drive me

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We are driving down 680, visiting friends or family (I don't remember which). You'd never had a pomegranate before, so I am cutting one apart with my less-than-sharp pocket knife. There are no napkins in the car, so I've got newspaper on my lap, and one of those free shirts nerds like us always get from our companies on top of that. Purple juice is, nevertheless, splattering the dashboard. There is no way you can eat these neatly while driving, so I shell the seeds and drop them into one of the cup holders, and you scoop out small handfuls to eat. Later on, finished and sticky, we stop at a mall to wash hands and try to swab the juice spots from the car.

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We are driving down to Monterey for a weekend of relaxation. You're driving because we're in your new car and it has a CD player, so we grabbed Stunt by BareNakedLadies, and two Billy Joel albums. We sing along at the top of our lungs all the way there and back. It doesn't matter if we don't carry the tune quite well. We point out the scenary along the way and I realize that I will carry this with me, hoard this memory and bring it out every time I hear those songs play again.

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We are headed for a barbeque at friends' house and we stop at the produce stand. They have English peas and since we both love them, we buy a huge bag. While I drive, you hand me pods and we shell together, piling the empties in unsteady heaps in the cup holders, popping the sweet green rounds into our mouth greedily, until the bag is done and we are full, even then wishing we'd bought more.

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We are driving, late at night. You're behind the wheel and I'm falling asleep in the passenger seat. Our hands are clasped, and you say it's alright if I want to close my eyes. I doze off, still holding your hand, waking every now and then to watch you through sleepy eyes as you drive, and every once in a while you look at me and smile, and as I sit there, curled into the seat, watching you as I drift in and out of sleep, I am reminded all over again why I love you.

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Happy Valentine's Day, Richard.

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