I didn’t expect that to happen, but I’ve heard that it can. When it does, it’s like a lightning bolt that hits you from your head to your toes and you never want the sensation to stop.
I was minding my own business one Sunday afternoon. It was a very hot day. I had my hair pulled back, a summer dress on with sandals and no make-up. Yeah, it was that hot.
I had some errands to run and was feeling a bit cranky from the heat. I was tired, it had been another long week and I still had so much left to do that day.
I parked my car and jumped out to run into the store. As I was walking up, I saw someone standing there in the sun and I knew I wasn’t in the mood to give anyone money. I had my own problems and really didn’t want to deal with it, so I kept my head down as I walked past him, but that didn’t work. I heard his voice and turned around and looked at him.
He had said “I hope to see you smile someday.” That was all he said.
He was a black man, tall and thin with gray hair. He was holding something in his hand but he stood motionless. He just smiled at me and I smiled back. He didn’t say anything else so I turned around and went into the store.
As I walked away, I heard him say “That’s all I wanted to see.”
The sincerity and kindness in his voice resonated with me. I couldn’t shake it off. I tried to because, well, it was just a sudden act of kindness from a stranger.
When I came out of the store, he was still standing there but looking far away. He was in the hot sun and I stopped, turned around and went back into the store and bought a bottle of water. I could see other people ignoring him, just as I had, but he did not speak to them.
I walked up to him and handed him the water. He just looked at me, smiled and took the water from me and drank it. I watched him and then looked at what he was holding in his hand. It was a small flyer or newspaper. When he was done, he thanked me.
“What do you have in your hand?” I asked.
He told me what it was – I don’t remember – but he was selling them for $1.00.
“I would like to buy one,” I said.
I dug through my purse and only had $5.00, which I decided to give him. He would not accept that much. I insisted, but he was more stubborn than me.
“It’s only $1.00 and since I haven’t sold any yet, I’m afraid I can’t charge you more than that. It wouldn’t be right.”
“OK, then let me go get some change and I’ll be right back.”
“I have a better idea, ma’am.”
“Oh yeah? And what that might be?” I asked. I could not help but grin back at him because that was the effect he had on me. From the moment I saw him, I wanted to smile at him.
“I would like to sing you a song and if I can get you to smile just one more time, my life would be complete. You have the most beautiful smile I have ever seen.”
And that was the exact moment I fell in love with this man. He oozed sincerity and kindness and an abundance of goodness.
“Really?” was about the most intelligent response I could give because I was starting to blush. “Deal.”
He took my hand and stepped back and began to sing. He had the most beautiful voice. I don’t know the song he sang, but it was the first time in all my years that someone actually sang a song to me. To my heart.
Even though I had “seen” him when I first arrived, standing there and listening to him was really the first time I “saw” him, the beautiful spirit that he was. I fell in love, right then and there, hard.
When he was done, I gave him the $5.00 and hugged him. I couldn’t help it. He hugged me back and for a moment we stood in that parking lot, holding hands and smiling at each other.
I never saw him again after that and I would often look. I would go by on the weekends and see if he was there. He wasn’t and I was always sad.
I love that man and if the day ever comes that I no longer love people, that is the day I need to die.