Seven years ago I walked into this hotel lobby in Mexico City and there stood a man, exactly where this little version of him stands today.
Without even seeing him properly, I knew instantly my life was about to change forever. It was as if an invisible thread had been drawing me toward him, through days and years and decades, through innumerable cities and countries, right people and wrong people, my entire life.
We made eye contact and he bounded from his spot, introducing himself in an exuberantly loud voice. “Hey, I’m Claus!” I took his outstretched hand, but inwardly I recoiled. No. No, no, no! This can NOT be happening. I was determinedly single, engrossed in a life of short-term, highly-paid contract work interspersed with extended, independent travel. I didn’t want or need to share my life with anyone.
As I told him my name I felt strong hands, slender fingers gripping mine. I saw eyes, an impossible shade of blue, a wide smile framed by Nordic lips and then… a crack, a fissure, something broken deep inside. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I knew instantly why we had been brought together – even though I had no sense of how he would affect my life, I was there to help him heal. And again, every fibre of my being was screaming “No! Let somebody else do it, not me, not here, not now!”
I fought fate hard. I tried to ignore him, to dislike him, to despise him even. It wasn’t hard; he was so very different from me and anyone I had shared my life with before. He was a confirmed bachelor (‘playboy’ is probably a more accurate description) and fought hard too. But it was no use. Exhausted by the battle we eventually let kismet have her way. We grasped hands, closed our eyes, stepped off the precipice and free-fell into our shared future.
It was a wild and unpredictable future filled with hard lessons and hearty laughter, rapture and rehabilitation. There were soaring highs and in the end, the lowest imaginable low. But ultimately it was a future that produced this little piece of both of us, now standing on the exact spot where the universe cast his mummy and daddy together. On this day, seven years ago.