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The Love Song of Dennis J. Kucinich
"I walked through the office door," Elizabeth finishes.
She was Elizabeth Harper then. She'd grown up in a village in the county of Essex, outside London. Her dad ran a security fencing firm. Her mom was a New Age healer who practiced aromatherapy and reflexology.
By the age of 27, Elizabeth had: Been known as the "Jolly Green Giant" in high school for her height and her love of environmental causes. Ministered to orphans and the poor at one of Mother Teresa's charity homes in India. Worked in Tanzania for 16 months with a British organization similar to the Peace Corps. Volunteered as a refugee caseworker for the British Red Cross. Become pen pals with a prisoner on death row in Texas. Earned a master's degree in international conflict analysis from the University of Kent, in England. Worked as a fundraiser for a pastoral service and as a care assistant for an accident victim who couldn't speak or walk. Sold gas and electricity contracts door-to-door.
And finally, Elizabeth had moved to America to take a job as assistant to Stephen Zarlenga, who runs an obscure New York-based organization called the American Monetary Institute. (Zarlenga advocates a sweeping overhaul of the banking system and has written a book purporting to expose those who've been "embezzling from society" and using "economic theory as a tool of class war.")
So, anyway, Elizabeth traveled to Washington with her new boss for a meeting with a congressman. She didn't know anything about Dennis Kucinich. She didn't know he was a lefty who had opposed the Iraq war and the USA Patriot Act from the beginning. She didn't know he had divorced for the second time in 1987, or that he had a daughter four years younger than her, or that during his last presidential run there was actually an Internet contest to find him a girlfriend. (It didn't work.)
She didn't know that he was attuned to the mystical, like her, or that he is vegan and has consulted a woman who teaches "expanded consciousness," and generally carries a tea bag in his suit pocket.
Her first inkling that Kucinich might be different from the run-of-the-mill congressman was the presence of two Indian nuns from the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University in Kucinich's reception room. She chatted with the nuns about India and felt herself being "opened" up by the conversation.
Then she and Zarlenga were called into Kucinich's office.
Dennis watched the young woman's eyes. First they went to a bust of Gandhi sitting on his bookshelf. Then they went to a picture given to him by the Hindu nuns -- a burst of brightness against an orange background meant to depict "conscious light." Then her eyes went to his.
"That was it," Dennis says now. "One, two, three." He knew.
"As soon as I met him I knew my life had changed," Elizabeth says. "I knew that he was my husband."
On the couch, they lean in for a kiss.