Ihave been happily married for 43 years. I retired early so that I could spend more time with my wife. I always took her with me on business trips. I did not realize how people perceived us as always being together, almost like two people blended into one person, until one day I visited our grandchildren by myself.

When my 4-year-old grandson met me at the door, he had a look of shock and, after a few seconds, managed to greet me with, "Where's the other one?"

Robert Gonzales

Burke

Years ago, people stared, just for the spark between us. Recently, people stared with disgust, impatience, scorn or, worst, with pity.

I grew to not care or become impatient.

Now, those I see moving slowly or seeming confused get my patience, caution, smile and, sometimes, a howdy.

Now, after two months, I'm no longer running interference. No one stares. They don't seem to notice the empty space beside me, missing the spark.

After holding me and holding his head high against the stares, my spark passed away. After our 15 years together, see me and smile. I loved him.

John Carvalho

Rockville

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