Love Story: Page 8
October 8, 2015
June 2000 – All over the place, Nova Scotia
There are no pictures to remember that visit by. Achim left his camera at the Tim Hortons by the airport, and I guess none of the rest of us thought of taking any. And these were of course the days before cell phone pictures.
Maybe it’s better that way. We remember it together with stories. My brother’s third birthday party. “You’re really good with kids,” he said, looking at me intently. Sitting together on the floor with my plastic tupperware full of beads, making him a hemp necklace (he wore it for years). Finding an old wooden Buoy tangled in seaweed along the shore of the Lunenburg harbour. We took it home and Achim and I spent the evening in my dad’s workshop carving it together. We made a grumpy character we called The Buoyman. We kept up our nightly routine. We laugh about how he taught me Freudian theory using weird terminology he made up by translating from German. Years later taking Psych 101 I was like, wait a second… One day, we went to Halifax. I think we saw an Imax film? He drove, my sister navigated. We managed to get epically lost trying to reach Peggy’s Cove again. “Let her sleep,” he told Johanna, as he harangued her for directions.
And then there was the time they set me up. I’d rented a movie from the Ultramar up the road after track provincials, a month before. I’d forgotten to return it, and what with the frightening prospect of unforgiving gas station late fees, I was now in the process of actively continuing to forget, perhaps indefinitely. Achim and my sister found the movie (it was The World Is Not Enough, in case you are interested) and without my knowledge, stopped by to plead my case. The late fee was over $100, which would have been astronomical to me at the time. The guy kindly agreed to waive the fee, but to first scare me a little. They then convinced me to do the right thing and fess up. Achim drove while Johanna kept up a pep talk appealing to my sense of morality, but when we pulled up, the plan went awry. Instead of returning the movie and dutifully receiving my just punishment, I panicked and rather orchestrated the drive-by/dine-and-dash of movie returns. I walked into the store, took one look at the stern, moustachioed smirk of the attendant, thrust the movie at him and bolted. I jumped in the car, GOGOGO! I screamed frantically, over their protests. Once safely round the corner they explained the situation, but too late. The damage was done. I don’t think I ever went back there.
This is a horribly unflattering story, I recognize. Still, I like it for two reasons. One, it illustrates how completely and terribly myself I was around Achim. Even in those early days. And two, amazingly, it didn’t turn him off – although perhaps it should have! Rather, in an endearingly deranged way, I think he kind of liked that I didn’t succumb to their trap. In my finer moments, I jab my finger at him, “You knew what you were getting into!” I say, accusingly. And he agrees, shaking his head with just the tiniest, almost indiscernible smile.
On the last day of his visit, I remember standing together, huddled over some purchasing decision in the aisle at Canadian Tire. I don’t know what our errand was, but I do recall the heart fluttering shock of noticing his standing closer to me than he needed to.
That night, we went for a walk, just the two of us. We waded through the long grass to the abandoned water park across the way. We sat in the empty blue basin of an old kiddie pool and he told me that he wanted to come back some day. When? I asked. He was enrolled to start university in the fall. He wanted to study here, after that. So… okay, 4 to 6 years. I didn’t believe him, but even if I had, that was basically a lifetime. What was he insinuating? It seemed ludicrous. Honestly, I figured this was it for us.
But, of course, yes. We kissed. Which perhaps should have been expected, but it wasn’t, well, at least not before the Canadian Tire shoulder-to-shoulder. And it was marvellous and basically made my year.
My dad drove him to the airport at the crack of dawn. The rest of us were fast asleep, but Achim slipped into my room to say goodbye. I remember him gently touching my hair. When I woke up later I found that he had left The Bouyman in the haphazardly open dresser drawer by my bedside. It sits on the windowsill in our bedroom now, the only tangible evidence – save a left ring finger that still hurts when it rains – of those sweet 10 days.
Page 8/15. A long one! But maybe my favourite page so far. We had a stressful morning, Joni was in tantrum mode and I wasn’t in the mood to write a love story, but it picked me up a lot to remember this time. It’s like marriage therapy! Lol. 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.
p.s. Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6 and Page 7 if you’ve just started reading!