The ability to fall in love in an instant, to leave your heart open and exposed to a person you hardly know and allow that person to accept or reject it. Love at first sight is often scoffed at and taken lightly by happily married couples that claim with a laugh, that it was ‘love at first sight’. Well, I believe in love at first sight. I believe that I can fall head-over-heels for someone I have only just met. I believe this love is real and this love has changed me for the better.
I fell in love two years ago in New Orleans, with Dwayne, a five-year old boy whose laugh could bring a smile to your face, and whose grin would fill the emptiness in your heart. The day I met him it was 100 degrees out and almost unbearably humid. From the moment I stepped outside my clothes clung to my skin and sweat dripped down my arms already dirty from painting houses that morning. It was then that I saw a child sitting on the creaky swing-set, slowly dragging his feet back and forth across the dirt. When I went over beside him, he looked up at me with his big brown eyes squinting in the glistening sun and with a smile simply said, “Underdog?”. From that moment on we were attached at the hip. There most have a been a total of 50 underdogs given in the first twenty minutes, but even when my arms were killing me his joy kept me going. When we weren’t swinging he hung on my back never wanting to let go. He taught me hip-hop on the sidewalk of down-town New Orleans, but what he didn’t realize was that he was teaching me so much more.
He taught me that no matter what your situation you can always find room for love. Dwayne came from a family that had let him down and struggled to get by from day to day, and yet he was able to reach out and trust me. He was able to show me a love that, in a world full of money and material things, is often forgotten. He showed me the joy that can be found in a simple underdog and in dancing to a rhythm that no one else can hear. I believe in love at first sight, and I found it with sweat dripping down my face, paint covering my arms, and a five-year old clinging to my back.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.