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We were introduced by a mutual friend. We met for brunch. And when she looked up from the table and she had that smile, it was over. And we were together for 22 years, or actually one month short of 22 years.
She worked in the north tower. And I heard that the plane had gone into the World Trade Center and rushed to work and put on the television. And no one at work understood what my relationship with Alena was. At that time I was not out, so I sort of pretended that she was a friend. Of course I was dying inside.
I believe her brother knew about us; her mother did not. But after 9/11 I went to the Czech Republic to bring things and to meet with her mother. She held my hand the whole time and it felt just like it was Alena's hand. And she said, "My daughter loved you very much." So, maybe somehow she knew.