October, 1999. Thessaloniki.

Dusk was falling as I leaned against the wall, waiting for him to come out. This was my third attempt: the week before I had waited outside the wrong college, twice, before I realised my mistake. Seeing as I could not, at the time, conceive of taking no for an answer I’d waited around for the next available opportunity, jumped on a bus, and stood against the wall. I’d even brushed my hair at the bus stop.

It was the magic from the previous post that had brought me there. It started its work one sunny September afternoon, when I took a break from fixing my broken bed and sat down, alone, amid the bed planks and the screws and the dust that danced in the patches of early autumn light coming through the window — and found myself thinking of him. I hardly knew him then – we’d only met him a handful of times, only talked twice– and I certainly had never thought about him before; and yet suddenly there he was, in my head, and that was making me happy.

Before long I was overtaken by a conviction unlike anything I had experienced before. “I wander the world for you,” I wrote in my diary, “knowing that you are at the other end of something, quite what I do not know, holding the balance.” “It’s simply that I think that my life complements yours, and yours mine.” “Somehow I think that the heavens will send down the right moves, and, sometime, it will all happen.” But I must have decided that the heavens needed some help down here on earth, too, because there I was, leaning against the wall of the right college.

He was the third one out. He looked around for his girlfriend, quickly, and then said, appreciatively, “you’re very brave.” ‘What would I have, if I didn’t have courage?’ I thought, but thinking that too serious I simply said, “it runs in the family.” Saying little more we walked to the next corner, where I gave him a kiss and a little wooden aeroplane (the best thing I had ever got in a Kinder egg), and we went our separate ways.