Love Story: Page 16

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September 2006 – The Universe

There I lay. By myself, in the dark, in his bed. Still, spent and a little shaky from the emotional upheaval of the day. As I stared at the ceiling, the events of the day, the month, the year – the years – seemed to vanish, a torrent of quiet, sparkling dust swept up and scattered, imperceptibly across the expanse. I suddenly felt very alone. So alone, but not lonely. Rather, it was an aloneness that gave me the profound feeling of inhabiting myself, a total presence of mind. I’d say it was an out of body experience, except that it was quite the opposite. There I was, lying alone, with so little control in the world, but… I was okay. It was probably one of the most meaningful moments of my life – a complete calm and clarity overtook me and I had the strongest, most distinct feeling of safety. It was as though in my aloneness, I realized that I, Elena, this impossible ball of chaos, was not alone. Rather, I was profoundly surrounded by love, wholly taken care of.

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Love Story: Page 15

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September 2006 – Bonn, Germany

I had a notebook with me, on the airplane and for the next few months. It was supposed to be a travel diary, but ended up mainly filled with chicken scratch hostel addresses and contact info for all our Amazing New Friends, whom I would never speak to again. However, on the flight over, my journalistic intentions were still fresh, and I did write. I don’t even have to hunt down that book to recall one particular passage.

“People always say ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’, but not for me. Absence makes me forget.”

It wasn’t a good start.

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Love Story: Page 14

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October 2005 to September 2006 – Toronto, ON / Bonn, Germany

I think we only wrote one letter each. Paper letters, I mean. Mine was a long, disjointed cadavre exquis of personal essays, flitting through homemade lino print stationary, looseleaf and sketchbook paper, various pens, highs and lows over the course of several days or honestly, probably weeks.

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12 Loads of Laundry (and then some)

thanks-universeHellloooo up there! It’s me emerging – rumpled, a little sweaty, maybe a discarded raisin or two stuck to my face – from under a mountain of bust-out onesies and small, impossibly oatmeal-encrusted striped t-shirts. My sister’s visit was awesome but exhausting, big props to those of you with twins. Two babies at once has a special way of (adorably) consuming the days!

babiesThe 9th has come and gone, and the Love Story is still hibernating. I know. In lieu of explanation, I thought I would submit this photo of our car, literally packed with 12 loads of laundry on their way to be burned monopolize a laundromat somewhere:

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Love Story: Returning November 9th!

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Sooooo, part of the idea behind finishing the love story in 30 days was to have it wrapped up before my sister and her husband and baby boy arrived here in Germany (from Canada!) on the 22nd, but of course, that didn’t happen. So it goes. And now we are in full swing familyville. We’ve got a lot of stuff going on over the next week or so, and I realised that it was just adding stress to do a Love Story page, which kind of defeats the purpose! I am really loving putting these little instalments together, but right now I need to spend a some time with my dear long lost sister! And bake a bunch of cakes. Which is really not my forte but such is life when visitors come to call in Germany. I will rise to the challenge! It may (will!) get messy. Speaking of which, funny story…

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Love Story: Page 13

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October 2005 – North York, ON

We didn’t speak for a week. Or, that’s how I remember it. Actually, it was an extremely long day and a half, filled with crazy-making one way conversations in every foreseeable permutation.

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Love Story: Page 12

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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.

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Love Story: Page 11

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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.

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Love Story: Page 10

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Late September, 2005 – Toronto, ON

It was autumn, the beginning of my final year of undergrad. I was two years out of a tough relationship, had some solid heart friends and felt like I was finding my feet. I lived on the 19th floor of a high rise just off campus and had nearly perfected the precarious art of biking with several large canvases tucked under my arm. I spent most of my time in the Fine Arts building, sustaining on cellophane tainted “cereal squares” and styrofoam cup coffee. I loved the bright, arid studios, with their years of cracking overpaint, pungent art room smell and mismatched kids coming and going. It was the perfect introvert’s social space, an equally acceptable place to chat or just sit and work, quietly enjoying the company. I got a little job as a lab rat in the new media studio and spent late hours tinkering with a few other creative night owls. I’d finally tapped into a spirituality that meant a lot to me, and although I was still often on the brink of existential crisis, as well as perpetually broke, late, forgetful and messy, I felt hopeful and full of life.

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Love Story: Page 9

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Six Years – Canada / Germany

Achim flew home and dealt with his broken hand. Started university. I spent the summer counselling at summer camp, playing soccer, going to the beach. I went back to high school. I tucked those early summer days away safely, a sweet memory that I didn’t dare to imagine would amount to anything. Life went on. He tried to call a few times, once right after I’d failed my driver’s test. I didn’t have time for him. Two years later I visited Germany again and didn’t even look him up. I think on some level, I didn’t want to spoil it.

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Love Story: Page 8

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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.

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Love Story: Page 7


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June 2000 – Risser’s Beach, Nova Scotia

The night after my sister arrived, we drove to the beach, late. We picked up her beautiful friend, Gill, on the way. I remember this quiet feeling of futility, knowing that Achim was going to meet her. Sigh.

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