I believe in true love. This may sound cliché, but I think it is something that everyone needs in his or her life, and if it weren’t for my grandparents, I would not even be sure it exists. I remember the first time I saw their true love, and I will never forget it.
We got in the elevator, and my dad pushed the button for the third floor. I felt my throat being shoved down towards my stomach as the elevator began to move. Then a soft ding sounded as the light changed above us, and the door opened. I stepped over the metal crack on to the third floor, and my parents and I made our way to room 243.
My grandpa was having open-heart surgery the next day. My parents and I were going to visit him before his surgery to “wish him luck,” my dad said. I was only 8, but I knew why we were there. It was not to wish him luck. What good would that do? He was not going to gamble or give some big presentation– he was getting open-heart surgery. We were there because it might be the last time we would ever get to see him. What was I supposed to say? “Good luck! Don’t die!”?
I looked up at the room numbers passing us by on the wall: 235, 236, 237. We were getting closer. My parents walked in front of me. My dad’s pace was quick and urgent, as if he were late for a meeting. My mom hung on to his hand, quickly moving her feet to keep up with him as if she were a child. I kept my head down and focused on the carpet. It was a forest green with brightly colored two-inch squares in a diagonal pattern running across it. Orange, red, yellow, blue. Orange, red, yellow, blue. I repeated the color pattern to myself as we walked.
Finally, from down the hall, I could see the little blue numbers on this side of the door: 243. When we reached about two doors away from it, my parents stopped to talk to the nurse. They looked nervous and kept laughing at moments where they didn’t need to. I slowly walked up to the little window that looked into my grandpa’s room and peered through the bent lines of the old, white blinds that covered the glass. It was at that moment that began to believe in true love.
There, through the blinds, I could see my grandpa lying in his hospital bed with my grandma in his arms. My grandpa looked strong. Even with his delicate hospital gown and IV carefully placed in his right wrist, he hung on tight to my grandma who was resting her head on his upper chest. She looked worried but peaceful. Both their eyes were closed and their eyebrows were pressed slightly downward as if they wanted to soak up every inch of the moment. My grandma let out a little sigh, and my grandpa held her closer and gave her a gentle kiss on the forehead.
As I watched them, I felt the tension seep out of my body. The look on their faces was not a look of worry, but a look of confidence and peace. They knew that they loved each other, and no matter what happened, they would always have that. I felt a smile forming across my mouth. I felt so at ease and happy for them, that I could not help myself.
My parents walked over to me and my dad put his hand on my shoulder to guide me into their room. They both opened their eyes when they heard our footsteps on the cold tile. Automatically, they both smiled, and my grandma got up to greet us. It was like any other day for them. We chatted about the weather, my schoolwork, and my dad’s job.
We never even got to the topic of the surgery until it was time to go and my dad went over to the side of my grandpa’s bed and said, “Good luck tomorrow,” as he gave him a quick hug.
I simply smiled and thought to myself, “Who needs luck when you have true love?”
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.