Ten years ago I hosted a "new age" show on an NPR station. Michael Hedges came to town with a two-necked guitar, a quick wit, and hair down around his shoulders. The audience of guitar freaks reacted to his mastery – "playing" doesn't seem a large enough word – as if Sinatra was in their midst. After that, I began slipping his songs into my show regularly, but just infrequently enough so that listeners wouldn't complain. When he came back to town the following year, I lobbied to introduce him onstage.

Backstage he was slighter than I'd thought, with short hair, now under an Indian-print cap. I was blushing, speechless, 23. I managed to say, "I'm in awe of you." He smiled slyly and responded, "No, I'm in awe of you."

Before we'd even worked out all the details of how to introduce him, he'd asked me to meet him later. "I'm not in town for very long," he stammered. "There's no other way for me to do this." I knew, of course, this was foolish. He was at least 12 years older than me. The likelihood that I would see him again was nonexistent. I had a boyfriend.

I said yes.