I found the tickets in the last drawer to be cleaned out in the rolltop desk: Two first class tickets from Washington to Hong Kong on United Airlines.

In 1994, I cashed in 150,000 miles in United’s Mileage Plus program to get the tickets along with a mess of points from Marriott’s Honored Guest program so we could stay at their hotel in Hong Kong.

It was a trip Amy and I had planned for a long time. I hadn’t been to Hong Kong since the early 1970s and it was a city she wanted so much to see before the British turned it over to the Chinese.

We planned to go in December of that year and celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary while there. But Amy, who had been working long hours at her job, came down with Epstein-Barr virus that fall and would be bed-ridden for the next two years. The tickets could not be returned for mileage credit so they went into a bottom drawer of the desk.

Two years later I would go to Hong Kong for an assignment but Amy could not go with me. The handoff came a year later.

I looked at the tickets for a few minutes and then put them in the paper shredder without saying anything to Amy.