The first person to respond to my plea was Leah Adezio. She gave me background information, ideas, and filled in the gaps in my knowledge. She also had an infectious love of Aqualad, and reading her comments on the character made me appreciate him even more.
It's hard to believe how little I knew back then. But Leah, and a few others who also found my page, filled me in and the website grew as I learned. Leah's love of the story and the whole concept of Aquaman and his world pulled me along. She strengthened me. She was a force. I admired her greatly for her even discussion skills and strove to be as eloquent as she was in her fandom.
For years, she and I corresponded on-line. Then an opportunity arose. If I could find a roommate, I could go to the 2000 San Diego Comicon. Leah came to my rescue. She was my roommate that year, and it was the best comic convention I've been to. She, in turn, introduced me to many people she knew at the convention. It was amazing, fantastic, wonderful. It was one of the best times I've had in my life. And much of that was due to Leah's presence.
The next year I returned to the San Diego Comicon, and met with Leah again. That year I had some issues with the hotel, and Leah stood by my side and helped me sort them out. She was an anchor. She saved me from myself. I cannot explain how much I owe her for those two short meetings, for those two small times we got to be together. I wish we'd been able to hang out more. If only the entire country wasn't between us, I would have gladly spent more time with Leah.
Leah was active in fandom. She attended conventions, and was a member of Friends of Lulu. She was bold, exciting, interesting, and simply lovable. People who knew her liked her. I've been called many names (and deservingly so, sometimes), but I never heard anyone who mattered say a bad word about Leah.
When Elayne e-mailed me to let me know that Leah was sick, I immediately called Leah and left a message on her phone. I left a second the next day, but I believe she never heard either of them. The third day her phone's inbox was full. I considered flying out to the east coast, but Elayne said it was too late. So instead I waited, while hanging onto some faint thread of disbelief, denying to myself that this could be happening to someone like Leah, so full of life.
Goodbye, my friend.