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Isn’t This a Time?

The autumn leaves are beautiful in the suburbs of Philadelphia where I’m visiting my mom this week, and particularly so as the wind and the rain begin making them fall from the branches.

Which shouldn’t be awfully surprising. But which has been, to me.

Not only because back home in San Francisco we don’t get autumn leaves or really much of anything in the way of seasons.

But mostly, of course, because of all the wild and crazy pinball games playing in my head, what with The Edge and the election. (Oh boy Obama. Oy oy oy California Proposition 8 — it &%*#@@*& WON! And what joy that that my brother Dr. Jeff Ritterman has just been elected to the Richmond, California City Council on a platform of environmental justice.)

I don’t get as politically involved as I should. I’m shy, introverted — hardly an activist like Jeff or my sister Robin. But late on election night when I realized that we really were going to elect Barack Obama president, Mom passed me a tissue and reminded me of the volunteer work I did when I was in high school for the Congress of Racial Equality.

Yeah, I thought proudly, so I did. And I wept some more for the passing of time and the possibility of change and the survival of a little of the idealism of my youth.

And I remembered that the dark moments are always when you lose touch with yourself. Which was what I wrote about in The Edge of Impropriety, where The Dark Moment (and every romance has one) comes when my hero and heroine feel the loss of their own innocence and trust, when my heroine Marina reflects that:

…if, in the course of living your life, it came that you had something to protect[…] you became hard and vicious and ruthless in your effort to protect it, because it was the only thing you could do, it being impossible to protect, to recapture, your lost innocence.

She took a folded paper from where it had been tucked into her sleeve.

“It’s the story about me,” she said [….”]You can read it or not as you like, and whenever you like,” she added, “but now you’d better go, because it’s late.”

Which of course it wasn’t at all. It was bright afternoon of a lovely day in June.

But [my hero Jasper] took it and bowed and turned and was quickly gone. Because even if Marina hadn’t been able to get to herself to say it correctly […], he still knew exactly what she meant.

That it wasn’t late. It was simply too late for the two of them.

Though I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that, in the way of romances, it turns out that it isn’t too late for my hero and heroine after all.

Just as, during this hopeful season, it doesn’t feel too late for any of us.


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