And I Fell In Love…

by Xenia Makridou

As I was driving today, the car in front of me stopped to let someone out. It was quite a while before this man got out of it. He was disabled. One of his legs wasn’t functioning properly. He could walk, but with the help of a walking stick. I had seen him before, but from far away. He was right in front of me today. I didn’t know what to do. I tried not to look at him – I didn’t mean to be rude. But then again, he was looking at me. He wanted to say sorry for taking so long. And I just froze. He smiled. His smile was like the sun, I swear. And I just fell in love – just like that. With someone I didn’t know. With someone I won’t know.

My dad told me he knew him. He explained how the man had had a stroke some time ago and that’s how he found himself handicapped. He used to be married, but his wife divorced him after the event. When my dad said this, I just felt my heart sink. Just once before have I felt this feeling. It must have been at least two years ago when my dad was driving me home from school, and on the roundabout just before the main lights, oranges from a truck had fallen all over the place. People were trying to gather them. It seems funny the way I describe it, actually. It’s stupid, I know, but then, I just thought of the person who actually grew these oranges, and looked after them, and picked them, and expected to earn money out of them. Now that I look back, it’s probably machines doing all this work, but at the time I just felt so sorry for that person, like I ought to get out the car and help the people collecting them from the road.

Anyway, when I found out about this man’s wife, I just felt disgust – the most complete disgust I’ve ever felt. How could she? I lost faith in humanity at that point. But then I remembered the man’s smile. So genuine. So true. Despite his disability, he took a walk by the beach. I knew because I had seen him before as I mentioned earlier. He didn’t give up on himself – or life. And I just felt so proud. I don’t know, I just fell in love with this man… He was nowhere close to perfect. He could be my dad. But that smile – it was beautiful. You know how you get vibes from people? Sometimes you just feel this positive aura few emit; other times you feel like you have to move away from others… It’s so hard to explain, and I know that you’re probably thinking, what the hell is this girl doing with her life (haha), but it felt almost as though he was the most worthwhile person on planet Earth at that moment. I look back, and it just is one of those moments in movies when there’s this perfect background music and the scene is muted from any speech whatsoever, and it’s just perfect? It was like that.