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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Love Story: Page 6

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June 2000 – South Shore, Nova Scotia

I had one half-day of school left before summer vacation began. My mom sent Achim to pick me up, and in a testament to how completely oblivious I was to any romantic possibility, I hadn’t even told my two best friends about him. They call it a “slow-motion moment”, when this cute, unknown boy came slowly weaving through the students sitting on the sun-warmed pavement in front of the school and locked his gaze on us.

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Love Story: Page 5

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June 2000 – Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

I flew home to my maritime teenage microcosm. Track meets, school dances, the creative avoidance of math homework, and the endless search for a ride, somewhere, anywhere. My sister finished the school year in Germany and booked a flight for June, just as Achim’s time in Goose Bay wrapped up. Given the close distance (966 km by air, welcome to Canada!), she invited him to visit us in Nova Scotia. He would arrive three days before she did.

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Love Story: Page 4

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March 2000 – Cologne, Germany

That visit to Germany was barely two weeks. March break from school, plus a little. Maybe I’m lingering too long, there is a lot to tell after that. But it sparkles in my mind like it wants to be shared.

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Love Story: Page 3

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March, 2000 – Rheinbach, Germany

He took us to a castle ruin one night, over a thousand years old. We padded quickly up, up the winding path through the blue dusk, between throngs of stinging nettle, over polished roots and rocks. Continue Reading