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I opened the box and lifted the crumpled blue tissue paper. The paper, I noticed, matched exactly the blue of the silky ribbon. "He's always had an eye for detail," I whispered to myself, remembering the raspberries he'd added to my champagne later that night.

The wooden container still held the leaf, as vibrant as it had been the first time I opened the box to find it. Half red, half green, it was a first-date gift from David. He'd collected it from the ground in New England, where fiery colors, not calendar pages, mark the changing of the season.

"How's it going in here?" David asked from the doorway.

"Great. I think I'm making a lot of progress." I smiled up at him.

"That's good to hear. I just finished the living room, so when you're done..." his voice trailing off, David's eyes darted around the room. "Is that the only box you've packed?" Hoping to avoid a lecture (or even worse, the threat of "else"), I gave him big puppy-dog eyes and smiled guiltily, the same way I had when I was eight and my father found me trouncing around in the mud, wearing his shoes.

David's expression of incredulity collapsed into a smile. "You're adorable," he said. Then, with a sigh, he left me to my things.

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