I'm climbing the Sandias and She is with me. We've taken some sort of jackass with us and whoever this guy is (I don't know him, he might be one of Her friends) he knows an awful lot about the history of the area.

We're going to the south peak and are taking the brambly, deserty way up. We run into a house on a spire of rock and due to an adventure with a ghost there, we get separated. She goes on ahead while her friend and I get to play Scooby-Doo with the damn house. There's a ghost problem related to some guy who used to own the house and who killed his wife. The jerkass is happy to be my faithful companion dispensing helpful advice in large block-quotes as we solve the mystery.

I solve the mystery of the house only to discover that the jackass hadn't stayed behind with me after all. When we got separated, he went with Her and not me, the jerk. So, I set off up the mountains to find them. I quickly find him on the path, he says they got separated as well, after he says, "A nice dinner at High Finance."

"Why then," I could have asked but don't, "didn't you take the Tram down?"

High Finance is, of course, on the north side of the mountain and we're on the south side, so they couldn't physically get to the restaurant in the course of a day, but whatever. Why is this jerk taking my girl out to dinner while I'm slaving up a mountain is a better question.

We head up to find Her and get to a little suburban neighborhood tucked inside a mountain glen. We endure ourselves to a farmer/LSD dealer and his rascally children in order to look up Her cellphone number on Facebook.

There is no problem with the farmer (even if his rascally children turn out to be demotic homunculi conjured in his basement) or the farmer's wife (who is some sort of reanimated corpse) or his dog (really a captured werewolf), but I do have some trouble from the jerkass who wants to talk to Her without letting me talk to Her.

I wrestle the jerk's phone away from him and ask Her where She is. Her voice is the same dry, no-nonsense voice She's always had.

"I'm almost at the bottom. You two better be close behind."

We're about ten minutes behind," I say. I have no way of knowing how close to the car She is, and we're probably thirty minutes behind at this point, but, I figure, I can jump off the mountain and survive and with luck the jackass will be killed.

As it turns out, the LSD farmer offers to drive us, so we get there in about nine minutes (those roads would have been helpful on the *way* up).

She's there waiting at my Honda, my stupid little 1997, that I call The Hot Rod because it obviously isn't one. She smiles, turns to see me...

... and I wake up. She isn't beside me, and hasn't been since January.

I love you and will love you.
I cherish you and will cherish you.
The journey we’ve begun has no end:
I will be yours forever.
I will hug you first in times of joy
  and I will revel in your successes.
I will turn to you first in hardship or sorrow
  and I will always be ready to comfort you.
I will protect you from hurt
  and do no hurt to you;
I will support you in your choices
  and hold you foremost in my own.
I offer you all that I have and all that I am
  and what you entrust in me I will never betray.
My heart will be your shelter
  and your arms will be my home.
I love you and will love you always.

I said it seven years ago, bare and blue of foot, ringed by flowers and mountains and family, with her hands in mine and not a thing out of place in the world, and I couldn't mean it more that day or this. I live my life astonished and thankful she meant it too.

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