It's very hard for me to write about Leif's loves. I want to be fair to both sides and to keep confidences, but since Leif's life was so much about the quest to find love, to find a woman to complete him, it's impossible to tell his story without writing about his romances and the women he loved. Since I began this series about his loves, I've written the posts days apart, partly because it's taking me a lot of time to think about what to say, and partly because I'm at a busy time in my life when there aren't enough hours to devote to this. I can't do it all from memory. I have to go back and read what Leif wrote, too.
By the first part of August 2005, Leif had been carrying on a very prolific correspondence with LA and they had also been on contact by phone often. He felt a real connection to her and had high hopes that when they eventually met, they would have the "chemistry" that he wrote to her about and that he so desired. And so it was. After meeting her only one time, he was already talking about her to our family and arranged to bring her to visit us for an afternoon and evening with dinner, while his brother and his family were visiting. Peter A. was very curious about LA. He wanted a chance to give his stamp of approval . . . or not. Leif even went to the unprecedented step of asking LA to correspond with both me and his brother, and she did. I was impressed with her writing and the things she said about Leif. When we met her, she was dealing with a hearing problem from an ear infection, but she seemed very sweet and we liked her.
Leif was taken with her femininity and slender, fragile looks, and thought he'd found a willing companion on Planetside. However, I don't think they actually saw each other in person more than three times when she began to withdraw from the relationship that she had (at least in her email) so wholeheartedly thrown herself into. It began with a death in the family. Leif offered sympathy and wanted to be there for her, but she told him that she mourned privately and asked him to give her space. He took that to mean not to call or email, and didn't for about a week but then loneliness got the better of him and he did contact her. From that point on, things seemed to deteriorate and she was more and more distant until finally in October 2005, they broke it off, though I don't think they had seen each other since the end of August. In all, I don't think they actually saw each other more than three or four times, but Leif had called her his girlfriend and invested a great deal of emotion and hope in the relationship. He wanted it to continue.
I will probably never know the full truth about what happened between them, but I do know that in the fall sometime, perhaps around the beginning of October, Leif's erstwhile fiancee, J, contacted him again, telling him he was the best thing that ever happened to her. Leif knew his heart couldn't trust her not to hurt him again but all the same, he was still carrying a torch for her and couldn't help but wonder what might develop. Apparently, as he did with his later loves, he told LA about this contact and she felt threatened by it. Rather than have him hurt her and leave her for J, she pushed him away herself.
Nothing but an occasional contact ever did develop with J, and Leif seemed bewildered about why LA had pushed him out of her life. He genuinely missed her, but went on to date others, still hoping to find someone. When his last romance broke up, he tried once again to contact LA and get back together, saying, "I thought we had something" and "I miss you." He did not get a reply as far as I know. I'm not sure she got his email, though.
In the end, although the two of them clearly had some feelings for each other and some characteristics each liked, I don't think it would have made a good long-term match. Leif had written to her that people said "it would take a strong woman" to love him, and that's true. Leif was not always easy to be with. He could be exasperating, moody, financially irresponsible, and insensitive, all things a wife or lover would find hard to live with. He wanted a woman to be interested in the things he wanted to do, like PlanetSide, riding a motorcycle, sci-fi and guns, all things fewer women find compelling. On the other hand, he was undemanding in most ways and very patient, had a lot of love to give and could be very affectionate.
Like all the women he had loved or would love, I don't think he ever really gave up on the idea of being with LA, somewhere in his heart.
Since I have no new good photos of Leif during 2005, I'm posting a photo I like of Peter W. and Leif in Puerto Rico, taken at Hacienda Buena Vista in June 1991. Leif was sixteen years old.