New York City - We're making a pilgrimage to Strawberry Fields, that part of New York's Central Park where John Lennon's memorial is.
I've been here before, but my partner has only been to New York City once - 35 years ago, when, as a newly married 18-year-old, her flight to Greece made an unexpected detour and she was put up for the night in the Times Square Motor Hotel.
Today she's feeling thoroughly freaked by New York's density. I should've known. It's our 26th anniversary and I've brought her here to see the city where I get my kicks, but she's sick of it already.
Central Park is a relief to her. She wants to stay in the green and sunshine, but I'm striding along to Lennon's memorial with a full itinerary to fill. After this, the Dakota, where Lennon lived and was slain, and then on to Times Square, where her old hotel may yet be. Strawberry Fields, though not exactly easy to locate, is busy today, Memorial Day in the U.S. The little bench-lined roadway that leads to and from the round disc of stone where the simple word "Imagine" is engraved is full of people sitting and standing, tourists from around the world.
I pose behind the the memorial while my beloved attempts to take a picture.
"Why don't you take that backpack off," I admonish her for about the 20th time. "That's what got us into trouble last time," she tells me.
And then I remember our previous visit to Strawberry Fields - only it was the real Strawberry Field orphanage in Liverpool, not far from the house where John Lennon grew up. We visited there 21 years ago and, finding the beautiful gateway locked, decided to have a quick climb over so we could say we'd actually set foot in the fabled domain.
"You should take your backpack off," I'd advised her, and that time she did. She and I both laid our packs under the cedar hedges and climbed up and over. The actual building was up a little roadway and in the summer heat shimmered like some kind of fairy-tale mirage - the perfect image to have inspired Lennon's surreal song.
Afterward, we made a quick journey to Lennon's house - virtually around the corner - where we realized we'd left our packs behind. We rushed back to Strawberry Field, but though our bags were still where we'd left them, our passports and traveller's cheques were not.
How spooky. There hadn't been a soul anywhere nearby as far as we knew, and we'd only been gone for 10 minutes. Without money or I.D. we'd have had to spend the night on the streets had not our morning's host, the poet Adrian Henri, returned home unexpectedly to give us shelter.
The lengthy process of getting copies of our passports and replacements for our traveller's cheques made us deeply regret ever having removed our backpacks in the first place.
Now we're here, 20 years later, in the same situation at a different Strawberry Fields. Nevertheless, she removes her pack and we take pictures back and forth. All seems normal. We walk off arm in arm to the Dakota talking about coincidences and recalling the feeling of loss our mishap at the real Strawberry Field had left us with.
Later that day we make our way to Times Square, but the Times Square Motor Hotel is no longer in evidence. The five or 10 policemen and soldiers who stand there beckoning young people into a recruiting station confirm that it is indeed gone forever.
It's been replaced by a canyon of gigantic video screens that can only be described as Bladerunner times 10.
She can't wait to get out of Times Square, but by the time were're ready to go home two days later she's begun to like New York. There are still sights she wants to see, things she wants to do, meals she wants to enjoy. But of course, as everyone inevitably must, we do leave the Big Apple and fly home to Toronto.
The next day we're stunned by an item on the TV. Strawberry Field - the original Strawberry Field - has that very day finally shut down.
"Small residential homes," the announcer explains, "are no longer seen as the best way to deal with orphaned children."
We both marvel at this strange extension of our story, feeling a little orphaned ourselves. And then, of course, they play the song, and Lennon, beyond time, sings, as he always will, "Let me take you down cuz I'm going to Strawberry Fields forever."