Koi no yokan: why I don’t believe in love at first sight

Koi no yokan: why I don't believe in love at first sight
Koi no yokan: why I don’t believe in love at first sight

Note: Alec claims a different first meeting, one where he found me sitting on a bench outside Southridge. That encounter probably did occur, but only after we had met already. I’m not offended that he doesn’t remember—he has the memory of a goldfish.

Koi no yokan can be roughly described as “the sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall into love.”

I’m not sure I believe in love at first sight. But when I heard an explanation of the Japanese phrase koi no yokan, the meaning resonated with me. 

Because that’s what I felt when I first met Alec.


The very day I moved into Southridge Apartments, I found myself invited to a movie night across the hall. And of course, eager as I was to befriend my new neighbors, I showed up. I introduced myself to everyone, ate the cookies offered by my hosts, and sat smushed between strangers while we watched Remember the Titans.

About halfway through the movie, another guest arrived. In the dark apartment I couldn’t make out any of his features—at least, not well enough to determine how cute (or not cute) he might be. But I could hear his voice clearly, and that’s what got my attention:

“What’re we watching tonight?” he said. My ears perked up as they caught hints of an accent.

Remember the Titans,” someone replied.

“Oh, right, that’s the one about that silly American sport you guys play,” he joked. “Real men play rugby!”

British, I realized. I tried not to give away my excitement, focusing instead on the movie until it ended a while later. 

Then the lights came up and I pretended not to notice the cute English boy sitting across from me, leaning against the wall.

He caught my attention after he realized I was a new face. We introduced ourselves and talked about various things—I remember asking about church the next morning, where it would be and what time. I was thrilled when he offered to walk me there himself.

When everyone parted that night, I returned to my empty apartment and texted a few friends: I met the cutest guy, I told them. He’s from England and his name is Alec and he’s walking me to church in the morning! Can I call dibs?

It was juvenile, sure. I had only just met him, and half of my excitement probably stemmed from the fact that he perfectly filled my Dream Guy profile: he was attractive and he was British. Yet there was a piece of me that felt a connection to this stranger—a sort of hyper-awareness from the first moment he walked into my life, continuing all through our tangled friendship and into those initial steps toward love and marriage.

I’d be lying if I said it was love at first sight: A crush at first sight, definitely. And the desire to know him better. But true love? Not so much.

True love came with time, and it’s growing every day.


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