In 2002, face in hands and sobbing uncontrollably, I was approached by a Canadian boy (as was evidenced by a small flag on his backpack) in the Frankfurt am Main Airport. “Are you okay? Do you need help?” he asked. I explained that I was en route to Madrid as part of a student exchange program and had made a huge mistake. My then boyfriend had slipped a handheld recording device into my carry on. The voice on the tape blurted “I love you”.
Two years later I returned to Spain to visit my friends. After a day of walking around the Alhambra and feasting on tapas, we danced to the songs of musicians we had stumbled across in a square. The figure walking towards me was blurry but I recognised his voice. “The airport in Germany!” he announced. We talked about coincidences and parted ways.
In 2006, I spent 5 months traveling through India. Arms out, spinning on the white marble of the Taj Mahal, I was interrupted by him again. “You’re kidding, right?” he said. We spoke, this time more awkwardly, about the size of the world and again parted.
Two years later, I was saying my goodbyes in Toronto. I would be moving to Berlin the following week and we had a table in the back of Ted’s Bar on College Street. Moving through the crowd, arms above head, I held a bottle and two glasses in each hand. “Soul mate! You’re my soulmate!” he bellowed from across the room. That night I learnt that he was a photographer and that we had several friends in common. When it was time to leave I shouted “Brazil 2010!” in his direction and winked once before exiting. I never made it to Brazil but have heard through the grapevine that his photos of Rio are unbelievable.