I’ve never been a big believer in love at first sight. For one thing, it sounds superficial. Taking one appraising glance at someone and then deciding you’re in love with them is NOT love. It’s your genitals gorging themselves off an infusion of blood released by your hormones. I mean, for God’s sake, if you’re gonna be a slave to the whims of the penis, at least have the decency to walk up to the so-called ‘love of your life’ and say hello, know what I mean?
And before you ask, no, that doesn’t include sending her a dick pic.
At any rate, this isn’t a story about that. It’s a story about me. Or maybe the beginning of one. See, for the last two weeks, I’ve been laid up in the hospital recovering from foot surgery and a raging infection that was nearly the end of me. Fun times! The funny thing is, being on the verge of death and spending your days confined to a bed tend to make you reassess your life.
In my particular case, it made me realize that I may have been spending a little too much time living for other people and not enough time living for myself. I completely ignored my health, my work, and every other thing important to me. Writing has always been my one great love, and I confused that with emotions I thought I deeply felt for a certain someone. Somewhere down the line, I withdrew from the world and did the other two things I do best- brood and solve other people’s problems. Kinda like Superman with a bad case of PMS.
So when I finally hit the wall, I was forced to do the one thing I hate beyond all measure: Rely on other people for help. I mean, if it were up to me, I would have toughed out the infection on my own, but it was the sort of thing that would have killed me had I left it untreated. As it is, I’ve already lost a toe to it.
Luckily for me, I got treatment from a really great hospital with an amazing staff. I may be stumbling out of the gate, but I’m finally on the road to recovery. Which brings me to the point of this story. While laid up, I met a girl. A nurse, to be more specific. A very special one.
I woke up this morning to find a beautiful angel of mercy who wanted to take my blood. In my still hazy, half-asleep mind, my first thought was, “Great! After two weeks of nothing but dude nurses, I FINALLY get a hot female nurse, and I look like a mental patient that hasn’t bathed or shaved in a decade!” Which wasn’t far from the truth. I felt so self-conscious that I wanted to crawl under the bed and never come out.
But me being me, I joked my way out of it, which was when she laughed and told me that the other female nurses had warned her about me being funny and flirtatious. To which my next thought was, “At least none of the guys thought I was flirting. That would have made the spongebaths slightly awkward!”
Kidding. There weren’t any spongebaths. That I know of. Then again, who knows what happened to me while I was doped up on the surgery table? On second thought, forget I asked. I really don’t want to know.
But I digress.
Remember how I said I don’t believe in love at first sight? Well, I still don’t. Especially when I look like five miles of skid row asphalt. In fact, I had hoped my personal Florence Nightingale would be too busy with other patients to attend to me. No such luck.
Despite my efforts to keep her at arm’s length, she began to whittle down the wall I had put up. What began as small talk began to go deeper, and at some point, I discovered that I was talking to someone very lonely and jaded, just as I was. She was looking for the same thing I had wasted twenty years of my life looking for- a deeper connection.
I thought perhaps I had been reading too much into things until she said something that took root in my brain. She said, “You’re such a goof. I like that because I’m one, too. I only wish I could find someone to be goofy with!” Then she took one finger to her strawberry blond hair and twirled it. It was an unmistakable sign.
A few hours later, her words kept eating up space in my brain to the point where I had to call her on it. The next time she came by, I asked why she didn’t have a boyfriend. She explained that she wasn’t lacking in men to date, only men she could connect with. Then she went on to say that despite the fact we had met only that morning and had a few conversations throughout the day, she felt as if she had known me forever. She felt like we had a connection.
I was at a loss for words. The nurse went on to explain that the other reason she was single is because she wanted to find someone who could love her not only because she was beautiful, but love her for her strength, intelligence, and heart.
I had a million things I wanted to say. If I hadn’t been shackled to an I.V. machine and looked like a homeless guy, I might have even acted on it. Here was a girl who was the living embodiment of every single thing I’ve ever said I wanted in a woman, and I was LITERALLY chained and bound.
All I could say was, “Listen, somewhere out there is a guy who will look beyond the surface and see the beautiful soul waiting inside. I know this, because I can.”
I wanted to… I don’t know what I wanted to do. What could I do? Tell an almost complete stranger that maybe I was falling in love with her? Even I’M not that crazy. I can’t even say that what I was feeling was truly love.
I just stayed silent as she walked away to see to her other patients. Alone in my room, I thought about everything that was said and how I felt about it. I was attracted to her, no doubt about it, and I felt a connection to her. I can’t deny it. From the moment we met, there was a spark, and we both knew it. But the thing that blew my mind the most is that she saw me at my most disheveled and vulnerable, and instead of running for the hills, screaming in terror, she looked past the surface and into my heart.
I decided to take a chance. The next time she came in, I asked her if she wanted to get together, the only catch being that it would be after I was done healing and finished with all my antibiotic treatments- six weeks from today. It sounded just as dumb to my ears as it probably did to hers, but she agreed on the condition that we talk in the meantime by phone, text, or email. I agreed.
Just to make sure we would see each other again, I gave her the orchid my cousin gave me to care for while I’m laid up. As I write this, my nurse is thinking of a name for it. Oh, excuse me- for her. (She says my orchid is a girl. As if I’m going to dispute that!)
So… I have a date with a beautiful and amazing woman. IN SIX WEEKS. Honestly, I have no idea if I’ll survive the wait, but I have every incentive to try.
I may not believe that love at first sight exists, but I do know that when two souls are meant to be together, they usually find a way. Besides, if my nurse and I do end up together, we’re gonna have one Hell of a story to tell about how we met!