Linda was nine then, as I was, but we were in love. And it was real. When I write about her now, three decades later, it’s tempting to dismiss it as a crush, an infatuation of childhood, but I know for a fact that what we felt for each other was as deep and rich as love can ever get. It had all the shadings and complexities of mature adult love, and maybe more, because there were not yet words for it, and because it was not yet fixed to comparisons or chronologies or the ways by which adults measure such things.
I just loved her.
She had poise and great dignity. Her eyes, I remember, were deep brown like her hair, and she was slender and very quiet and fragile-looking.
Even then, at nine years old, I wanted to live inside her body. I wanted to melt into her bones — that kind of love.