Meg and Jim stood on the Hohenzollern Bridge, facing each other, in front of the sea of locks.
The golden lock that they had put on the bridge’s railing was in between them. The letters “M” and “J” written with permanent marker.
It was nearly a decade ago, the last time they were on this very spot.
They were college students then, in their final year. So wild and carefree.
Meg and Jim remember those days like it was yesterday…
10 years earlier
“Meggie, where shall we go first?” Jim asked.
“I want to have a drink first Jim.” Meg replied with a wink.
The couple had been dating for over a year. Meg was an arts student and Jim, a physicist. They were both studying in Paris. This trip to Cologne was sort of a graduation trip. Before they go back to their respective countries.
Meg will go back to the United States.
Jim will go back to the United Kingdom.
Cologne is a beautiful city situated in Germany. It’s the fourth largest city in the country as is located on both sides on the Rhine River. They’re super famous for their cologne and beer.
The first pub they entered was the Brauhaus Fruh Am Dom. They had Kölsch, a popular beer brewed exclusively in Cologne.
“This place is super beautiful. I’m glad we’re doing our last trip before graduating out here.” Jim said.
“Yes. Then I don’t know when we will meet.” Meg replied, pensively.
“We will meet at least twice a year and talk at least four times a week. We decided right? We’ll make it work Meggie.” Jim took Meg’s hand in his and kissed her.
“Your lips taste like beer!” Meg laughed.
“So do yours.” Jim laughed too.
They walked the streets of Cologne, hand-in-hand, soaking in it’s beauty. It was Christmas time and European cities were the most beautiful during Christmas. Cologne had a gorgeous Christmas market called Huemarkt, which was completely lit up with decorations, smelled like awesome treats and had families running around everywhere.
“One day we will bring our kids here right? I’m sure they would love this market.” Meg suggested.
“Yes, that sounds like a good idea.” Jim went over to one of the stalls and returned with a necklace. The pendant on it was a tiny penguin with a Christmas hat.
“This is co cute! I love you.” Meg said and gave him a tight hug.
The next stop was the Hohenzollern Bridge. This bridge is well known for the thousands of locks entangled within its rails. Lovers lock their locks to lock a secure future together. Meg and Jim were no different.
Meg took out the lock that she had bought for this specific purpose. She was a superstitious one, Meg, and believed that the lock would lock their relationship for lifetimes to come.
Jim wrote “M” on the lock and she, “J”, with a permanent marker.
“Now everyone who walks past these locks can see ours too!” she said excitedly.
Eternal love. That was the love Jim and Meg shared at that moment.
Their last stop was the Cologne Cathedral. One of the most mystifying Cathedrals in Europe, the Hohe Domkirche St. Petrus Cathedral is known as the main landmark of Cologne. It was true to its gothic exterior and interior with beautiful stained glass, painted windows and grey brick walks. A wedding was taking place in the Cathedral.
“Jim, let’s get married here. And no matter what, after ten years, we have to go back to the locks and ensure that they are still here.” Meg said.
“Of course honey.” Jim replied.
“Jim, I love you. Because of you my life has opened up to so many possibilities. Being near you has made me feel alive, and has made me realize the value of love. Thank you Jim.” Meg said while tearing up.
“Don’t cry Meggie. I’m so glad to have you in my life too. Thank you for being the amazing human that you are.”
As the groom kisses the bride, Jim kisses Meg. They walk back onto the streets of Cologne, which are slowly being covered by the snow-fall.
“You kept our promise.” Meg said, tears in her eyes.
“So did you.” Said Jim.
“Mommy! Mommy!” A little child screamed. A toddler, no older the three years old, ran to Meg and clutched her skirt with his tiny hands. Another older child followed, around eight or nine years of age.
“Mom, dad has been looking all over for you. He’s waiting by the café next to the bridge. Where did you disappear to?” The older child said. Then she noticed Jim. “Who is this, mom?” She asked.
“A friend from college dear. I happened to see him here by chance. We caught up.” Meg said.
“Oh right. Nice to meet you! I’m going to the café with Robbie. Come meet us there okay?” and she walked off.
“She looks just like you.” Jim mused.
Meg giggled. “Where’s your wife and child?” she asked.
“They are in the hotel. My kid and wife thought it was too cold to venture outside.” Jim said.
There was silence for a while.
“Jim.” Meg said.
“The lock…it’s broken.”
Jim looked at the lock. The latch had been opened somehow.
“Oh yeah. Seems it is.”
“Jim?” Meg said.
“I’m sorry we couldn’t be together. Thank you for all the memories you gave me. Thanks for coming after ten years at this very spot. A part of me will always love you.”
“Same here Meggie, same here.”
And with this, both of them parted ways, never to meet again. Jim and Meg lived their own lives with their own families. But they could never forget the memories created in the beautiful city in Germany, called Cologne.
This is a work of fiction
Source of keychain: Souvenir shop in Cologne