I met her tonight, many years ago. I’d just walked off the stage at the Central Tavern in Seattle’s Pioneer Square and was standing at the bar when someone tapped my shoulder from behind and said So I heard you were on The Love Boat, huh?

I turned around and it was instinctual, immediate, undeniable.

She was the one.

A few years later I was at a payphone in the rain outside the same bar, checking my answering machine to see if she’d left a message.

She hadn’t.

The dance had begun in the space between, in an old barn we built of timing and growing up, where the slow waltz of music seeping through the roof would sometimes almost bring us together. And always, just as our fingers began to grace the fabric of each other’s coats, the soft lilting melody would stop.

She’s married these days, almost two decades later, with a kid and what sounds like a lukewarm marriage. I hear from her now and then, usually on some anniversary we would have celebrated if we’d burned that old barn down and built a new one.

An anniversary like tonight.