“So what were you thinking, when you decided to send that picture to me?” I ask.

We’ve been on the phone for an hour, before I finally ask this question. But it’s a question that’s been on my mind since she sent it.

It was for my birthday, part of a package she’d sent that arrived right on the day. When I opened it, and saw the 3×5 silver and black frame, holding the photo of her I’d first seen on the dating site, the one I’d raved (in my quiet way) about, I was deeply touched.

She’s quiet for a moment or two, and then she says, carefully, “Well, I knew you liked books. Actual books. I knew that you appreciated tangible things. Things you can see, and hold, and have before you. And I knew you liked that photo, so I thought if I gave you something tangible, you would appreciate that. I just thought that was something you would appreciate.”

This is a thoughtful woman, this woman who hears what I say, who pays close attention to who and what I am, to the things that make me, me. She pays closer attention to these things than anyone I have known, closer attention than I (sometimes) think I do myself. And that’s saying something.

That framed photo sits on my desk now, just to my right, at the base of my lamp. I couldn’t tell you how many times through the course of a day I look at it. How, when I do look at it, I am reminded of how fortunate I am, to have stumbled upon someone who not only has my best interests at heart, but who has me, just me, at heart.

It’s a new thing, a novel thing. Which sounds almost sad.

But isn’t sad at all.