She grew into a precocious little girl, spending most of her free time reading. Anne’s high school, she was an erudite overachiever who practised Croatian dancing and worked in the cornfields outside of Windsor every summer.She was a distance runner with caramel hair, high cheekbones, a long nose, and blue eyes that squinted into crescent moons when she smiled.He was surprised to discover later that she was interested in him at all.In the early days of their affair, Elana was incandescently in love with Mohammed, who went by Mo. Mohammed declined to speak to for this story, but friends say that in the beginning he didn’t take their relationship as seriously as Elana did.When a flight attendant told her to go back to coach with her parents, she said, “Wait until I grow up—I’m going to travel first class.” In high school, she excelled in science and math, and decided she wanted to become a doctor.She recorded her evolving sensibilities in an anthology of poems she wrote during her teen years, titled “I am the captain of my ship,” she wrote, echoing William Ernest Henley, “navigator of my destiny.” Her poems vacillate between defiance and despair, love and fear.
In 1999, she began medical school at the University of Ottawa, and the couple lived in separate cities for the first time in the decade they’d been together.Elana loved to tell the story about how she barely got a second date with the man who would become her husband.After playing pool together at the hospital, Mohammed asked her to go for a drink. But he ended the evening by asking if he could set her up with his friend.She was awed by his intellect, his ambitions, the fact that he graduated from an Ivy League college. He continued to see a woman he knew from med school while he was dating Elana, which his colleagues thought was incongruous with his meek demeanour.Whereas Elana showered him with gifts, including a set of golf clubs, Mohammed barely made an effort to meet her friends.