September 9, 2021:
We had a secret signal. A tug on one earlobe meant "I love you." We'd semaphore this simple message every few minutes, one end of the conference table to the other. Meeting after meeting, saving the world.
We meant it, because we wanted it. It was an aspiration, not a truth. A goal we acted on, at least when no exes were around. Then, all bets were off.
She was charming, narcissistic, manipulative, self-absorbed. In hindsight, I realize, just another in the long chain of charming narcissists I fell for and failed to understand.