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30 years after their romance, 2 friends reunite

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps, where people sit down to have a conversation with a loved one. Today we hear from Mary Clark and her friend Ron Gibson. They recently reunited after nearly 30 years. They first met back in 1991 and struck up a romance.

MARY CLARK: When it started, it was like a spark from a sparkler. It was white-hot heat, but it quickly dimmed because, you know, a sparkler doesn't last very long. So how did you feel when we reconnected?

RON GIBSON: Well, God knows I've changed a lot. Back then, I had the body. I had the muscles. Now I've barely one leg, one half of a heart.

CLARK: I sent you a picture of me because up to that point, you hadn't seen me in 20-plus years.

GIBSON: Twenty-seven.

CLARK: Well, yes.

GIBSON: And your smile was still there.

CLARK: I remember you responded, you look good. And I said, well, you don't need to tell me that; I know that.

GIBSON: And we briefly got together, which was a test that I think we - well at least I failed miserably in. You're nodding your head yes.

CLARK: (Laughter). I know there are times when I laugh about things that probably get on your nerves. But also, there's some days I don't like you, Ron.

GIBSON: So why are you putting up with me?

CLARK: There's certainly the connection of the heart that I will never regret. You have a place in my life. Did it turn out the way that you or I thought it would? No, it didn't.

GIBSON: At least I never asked you to marry me.

CLARK: You've asked me several times.

GIBSON: I did not.

CLARK: You fall in love so quick, you don't even know what to do. Five marriages, Ron? Come on.

GIBSON: Four.

CLARK: Well, that probably wasn't what we needed anyway. What is still true to this day is that you were the love of my life. And I don't know why that is. I don't know where those words come from because I've never used it for anyone else.

GIBSON: I've known people to say you're the love of my life. And then I turned the page and, well, Chapter 10, the end. When you said it, I knew I was.

CLARK: I'm grateful for just knowing that we do have that ultimate respect for each other. And that's more important than anything to me.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.