“…Once upon a time
       A girl with sunshine in her eyes
       Put her hand in mine
       And said she loved me so
       But that was once upon a time
       Very long ago…”

I remember walking her through parking lots … and how my paw would swallow her hand the way it now envelopes Lucy’s. Young and bright-eyed she was—blonde even —and always glowing.

When she played Little League the fathers would pitch to daughters. I recall too how I’d loft the sphere, aiming, anticipating her swing — trying feverishly to have the trajectory of the ball meet with her bat — and how she’d concentrate, focus, overachieve, hit it…

And glow.

       “…Once upon a time
       We’d talk of life, just one-on-one—
       Laughing through the tears. Oh, but we were young.
       But that was once upon a time
       And now the days are gone…”

In the tenth grade she boasted to me once that one of the cool upper classmen had cornered her for over an hour at a house party yet “didn’t try anything”.

“Don’t you know what was going on?” I asked her.
(She shrugged).
“He made a judgment call, that’s all,” I advised. “There were people in the other room and he figured nothing was going happen so he played the ‘nice guy’.”
“Do you think he’ll try something next time?”, she inquired.
“Bet on it, lady”.

       “…How the breeze ruffled up her hair
       How we always smiled because the other one was there.
       She was young and didn’t have a care
       Where did it go?”

College came and went, she breezed right through it. Law school too— same thing.

The day before the B.U. graduation Stacy’d missed her plane. With drama unfolding and our schedules upended, we sat through “About A Boy” in a Boston movie house. The film was mediocre but we giggled in the dark. She’d smuggled me some buttered popcorn, you see, but Michael caught on. “You two aren’t funny!” he exclaimed.

Ah, but funny or not, we were always connected

       “…Once upon a time
       The world was sweeter than we knew
       Everything was ours
       How happy we were then…”

I walked her down the aisle on a beach in Jamaica. An hour or so later on that moonlit night we danced, father and bride, to the old Carole King song “Now And Forever”. It was our anthem, and I believed in it.

It would be our last dance.

       “Cause that was once upon a time …
       And somehow once upon a time
       Never comes again….”

Strouse, Adams

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