Love Story: Page 11
October 16, 2015
Late September, 2005 – Toronto, ON
We met again the next day, Saturday. Neither of us recall what we did, Achim’s journal only says that we talked non-stop. “Elena has the ability to bring out my words, so that even I am surprised,” he wrote.
Before now, I have never read the journal he kept during that visit. It floated around his bedside for a couple of years before landing in a box somewhere, and if I ever picked it up he would snatch it from me with mocking secrecy. It’s written in German though, so I wouldn’t have been able to make much of it until recently anyway, had I tried. But I didn’t, really. Achim is not typically a writer (well, except for, you know, daily as his JOB, haha, little joke for the suffering academics out there!). Knowing him, I assumed it was either logistical or philosophical. Not necessarily the most compelling read. When I started writing this section of the story, he pulled it out to corroborate the details. I called him just now, for help deciphering his handwriting and he laughed as I had a moment. “She is really a fascinating girl, perhaps the most fascinating girl that I’ve met in my whole life,” it says.
It didn’t feel so simple on my end. My memories of this visit are a hazy mess of emotions. After those two intense days, he left on a five-day solo hike along the Bruce Peninsula. I spent five days willing myself to believe nothing noteworthy was going on. This part of the story is kind of painful to remember. If it were a book, I might even skip ahead.
When he got back, we went to the Toronto Islands together. I borrowed my roommate’s green linen jacket. It was a beautiful day. Romantic. I was on my guard. We met at the ferry terminal. I didn’t like his clothes. They were too sporty (the hoodie was new, from the Eaton’s Centre, he’d thought I would like it). His pants were too short. And too wide. His hair was too flat. But as shifty as I was, he was sweet and sincere. We sat in the middle of a big, tree-lined garden. “I have a confession to make,” he said. “I haven’t been completely honest with you.” And he told me. He told me about that song at the end of the CD. About why he had come, that he couldn’t get this girl out of his mind. That everyone told him he was crazy. She was a kid before, you hardly knew her, they said, preparing him. But he had to see. So, he booked a plane ticket.
It was too much. People don’t do that! I oscillated between feeling elated, terrified, and a confused mix of the two. I remember I ran into my friend Phil in the student centre. A fiercely loving, straight-talking Trinidadian curmudgeon, Phil was like an older brother to me. I trusted him enormously. I would bring him tales of one bad choice after another. “I don’t like him,” would be his routine, touchingly infuriating response. “But I haven’t even told you anything about him!” I would protest. And so on. When I started in this time, I expected the same thing. “So… there is this guy…” I told him apprehensively. Nothing. It didn’t come. I gave him the story, expressing my ambivalence. He laughed. “You women.” He said, shaking his head. “You say you want someone to lay it down for you, and then someone does, and you don’t want it.”
I was incredulous, annoyed, and even more rattled than before. I spent a lot of time generating reasons not to like him, from the heinously superficial to the downright inaccurate. Those pants, for one. I mean, seriously.
But as shaken and twisted up as I was, I still wanted to see him. Like, a lot.
Page 11/15(ish). In case you missed this post, I’ll be writing and illustrating our story over the course of 30 days. It’s a true love story that spans 17 years. You can expect new “pages” posted every second day, from September 22 –
October 21 the end of the story.
p.s. Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7, Page 8, Page 9 and Page 10, if you’ve just started reading!