I like your shoes

Starting a new college away from home was hard. I had gotten into the University of Texas on a full scholarship and was eager to get started on my degree for my counseling career. Four long years ahead of me and hundreds of miles away from home, I was officially on my own. I grew up in a small town with three siblings to share my time with. I would say that we had a good, but tough childhood. We learned to be strong in tough situations through most of our childhood, I always remember being happy and feeling loved. That was the important thing. My mom was always teaching us to love one another and to be fair, even when we couldn't understand why. I was born with a heart condition that would send me through three open heart surgeries by the time I turned thirteen. The doctors said that I would never survive past age twenty, I was determined to prove them wrong for as long as I could fight, never giving up easily. Leaving my family was the hardest part, but it was not good-bye forever and they knew that they'd see me again for holidays and special occasions. I walked into the Bursar's office on my first week and asked for volunteer opportunities, I would need community service for my resume' and I liked to stay busy. I enjoyed learning new things. The secretary informed me, once again, that there was nothing and that she'd let me know as soon as she had anything come available. "Yeah, right." I thought, discouraged. I could tell that I bothered her by coming in all the time and asking the same thing, I decided it best to keep my smile on and thank her anyways. I was turning to leave with my friend Sally and I guess my mind was so caught up in the events that just took place that I didn't notice where I was going. I was brought back down to earth when I collided with a tall and tan young man. I dropped my planner on the floor from the collision and just stood there, stunned looking at his amazing light brown eyes. Something about those eyes. Time stopped and so did we. I realized that we must've looked insane to the others in the office, including Sally who rudely announced, "Hey! You ran right into my friend. Grace are you okay?" I was stunned by my instant connection to him, but I was fine. I nodded my head and spoke to him, " I am so sorry, that was my fault, I didn't see you there." He returned my apology with the most amazing smile that I have ever seen. I was starting to think that he couldn't understand me. When Sally again piped up, "Grace, are you serious? It was his fault, he is a worker, he should be more careful with the students and go back to his landscaping." I was so embarrassed for her rude remarks towards him, my temperature was rising, I hoped that he couldn't understand what she had just said. I looked over at Sally and couldn't hide my disappointment, "Sally, I can't believe you just said that. He is a human being like you and me, that was rude. Go ahead without me. Maybe I will catch up later." Sally looked like she had just swallowed something horrible and couldn't get the taste out of her mouth, she looked me up and down one more time and stormed out. I made note to make sure that I stayed away from her, that kind of negativity would not be welcome. Anyways, back to this amazing smile. I looked down from embarrassment, trying to find the right words to make him understand. This whole time he stayed quiet. That's when I noticed his blue shoes, that was my favorite color. Without thinking, I looked back at those eyes, and gave my most sincere smile, "I like your shoes." He looked down from my eyes for the first time, he slipped his shoes from his feet. "Here," he said, "You can have them." Oh goodness, now I was even more mortified. He did understand English, I felt terrible! Despite how he was just treated, he still returned it with kindness. I was thrown into a whirlwind of feelings; compassion, love, confusion, happiness, and sadness all at once. I tried to keep my cool, "Oh, no thank you! Really, but come on," I took him by the hand and led him out of the office. " I will buy you a coffee." He looked slightly confused, I realized that he was at work and probably thought I was crazy, what in the world was I doing? " We got off on a rocky start, my name is Grace. What is your name?" He stood there and smiled down at me, he lightly laughed and replied, "My name is Miguel, I have lunch now, Coffee is good." I smiled up at him as we made our way to the cafeteria. I wanted to know his story and everything I could about him, it was not like me to invite a complete stranger to lunch, but it was a strong feeling that I couldn't ignore. I didn't know why I felt an instant connection with him or why he felt one with me, but that day we both found out that love at first sight is real. We fell inlove and live a beautiful life together, but that's another story that I can't wait to tell you. Love has no language, walls, or boundaries.

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Anthony M. Grimaldi

Illustrates & designs with unlimited creativity and visual imagination.

New York City, U.S.A.