Sipping on a cup of coffee earlier in the day at a Manhattan hotel, Buckingham---looking every inch the sensitive poet---seems to withdraw into his bulky gray turtleneck as he talks about healing, happiness and the wisdom that comes with middle age.

"Usually, when you break up with someone, you don't see them every day for the next 10 years," he says. "I don't think I dealt with a lot of those issues fully. To come back for me was personally cleansing. There's a sense of the rekindling of spirit in healing of wounds. I can look Stevie in the eye now, and in 1987 when I left, her eyes especially, and maybe mine, too, were kind of blurry. I can look at her now and acknowledge there's still a love there---a love for two kids who came down from Northern California and tried to make something happen, and did make it happen. We're still here, and that becomes very sweet."

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