Love Story: Page 12

Page 12

October, 2005 – Toronto, ON

For the next three weeks, we spent every free moment together. I would sneak in the minimum for school, skipping any class that didn’t technically require attendance and arriving at the remainder fresh from my bike, late and starry eyed, coat flapping and apple in hand.

Mostly, I don’t remember what we did. Just spent time together, I think. Met with my friends. Did ordinary things, went ordinary places. One day we walked to Value Village with the intention of finding me a halloween costume, but instead I spent the time trying on slinky dresses and other things that generally didn’t belong in my wardrobe and slyly watching him admire me. We came home with no costume, a bag of random clothes and an old pot. We wanted to use it to make popcorn, but rather got distracted, filling the apartment with smoke as Achim quickly ran the smouldering concoction out to the balcony for my mom to find, horrified, when she visited months later.

And I remember lying together on our overstuffed, jacquard dumpster-find of a couch. I was in a bad mood, whimpering and whining. Alright, he said. Up! He stood in the middle of the living room, feet planted, arms straight out to the sides, and he convinced me to climb his body like a monkey, starting at one foot, up and over his head and down the other leg, while my roommates looked on laughing. And by the end, I was laughing too. He was good like that.

It was wonderful, comfortable and exciting like it had been those years ago, but then in a flash I would feel sick with the sinking feeling that I was in over my head. The unspoken seriousness of his interest thoroughly scared me, for both of us. I didn’t expect this, I kept telling him, yo-yoing protectively whenever things seemed too cozy.

One day shortly before he left, we met downtown. We spent the evening on a long meandering walk, wandering and talking. Before I caught the subway home, there was somewhere he wanted to take me. He had a kind of intentness that seemed unusual. He lead me through University of Toronto’s pretty, historic St. George campus, down a quiet, green lane to a park bench nestled in a charming little garden. He sat me down. My stomach started to drop. He sat down beside me. My ears started to ring. He said some words. My heart felt heavy. He took out a little box. A quiet fell.

There was a ring inside, though not that kind. It was a simple silver ring, on a long, thin silver snake chain. It was pretty. I’m not sure how it got in my hand, but there it lay, cooly coiled in my palm. I didn’t move. We sat facing each other, my hand, cupped as if to catch raindrops, suspended between us.

A million years passed. We were talking softly but I don’t remember words, just the feeling. Looking at each other, his giving me something that I couldn’t accept. I remember clearly his expression as he took it gently from my hand. “You don’t want it,” he said quietly, kindly, as I tried to explain. “I know you don’t want it, and I don’t want you to take it if you don’t want to.”

His journal says that he felt like a fortress on quicksand.

Page 12/15(ish). I’m sorry that these are becoming routinely late now! I’m finding that I need a day to write, in bits and pieces while juggling the babes, as it goes, and then a little pause to let it marinate before I do the illustration. I’ll keep trying to get it as close to every second day as possible, though!

In case you missed this post, I’ll be writing and illustrating our story over the course of about a month. It’s a true love story that spans 17 years. You can expect new “pages” posted every second day or so, from September 22 – October 21 the end of the story.


p.s. Page 1Page 2, Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6,  Page 7,  Page 8Page 9Page 10 and Page 11 if you’ve just started reading!

6 thoughts on “Love Story: Page 12

  1. Janice

    Beautiful illustration! The ring and chain look like real silver. This must have been hard to create, but it caputures the uncertainty of life and the fear related to major life decisions so well! Thanks for sharing this series!

    1. Elena

      Hey, thank so much, Janice! I just go by feel, so I am always so pleased to hear that a metaphor or image are saying what I want them to. I did the images half by hand (painted with watercolour, cut it out, and scanned it in) and half in photoshop and there are definite benefits to that – you can tinker and tinker without messing up what you’ve done, until you get the effect you want.

  2. Kara Turner

    Oh this is such a beautiful story! I started on page 12 and read backwards LOL. But then I made a cup of tea and started from the beginning again.

    1. Elena

      Lol that’s awesome, Kara. I’m very flattered that you felt it was worth a cup of tea and a second read. 🙂 And thank you so much for your kind words. xo

  3. April

    These posts are achingly real & amazingly beautiful! I wish that you didn’t feel pressured to get them out “on time,” – no matter when they arrive, they always make my day better! I just love love stories! And this one is sooooo good!!

    1. Elena

      Oh, April. What a kind and thoughtful thing to say. Really, I’m sorry for the late, late reply, but comments like this, from people like you – so encouraging. Love, love, love. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *