Drawing by Ravie Tofolo
The other day, my friend sent me a picture of a lily she saw while walking past a florist’s shop. She thought it was pretty and wanted me to see it, a continent away. That, I think, is love. Love is in the smallest acts; in caring and remembering.
It made me think of other moments of love, and that brought with it this startling realization—I am loved, quietly, and with such magnitude.
Love is my friend remembering the minutiae of my life and asking me about things I’ve forgotten myself. Love is listening intently to each of my friends’ dozen podcast-length voice notes, laser-focused, because I want to give her the best advice I can. Love is liking every single Instagram story someone posts. Love is my father calling me every day, even when neither of us has anything to say, sitting in silence on the phone or making mundane conversation just because he misses me. Love is my mother’s hand on my cheek, it’s her asking about my schedule for the week and if I’ve eaten. Love is doing the dishes after I’ve cooked because my sister’s had a long day at work. It’s leaning against her doorframe and telling her the silly little details of my day; about the strawberries and cream latte I tried that I think she’d like. Love is standing in my grandmother’s kitchen, bleary-eyed and gossiping while she teaches me how to properly cut an onion. Love is my grandfather labelling my mediocrity brilliance. Love is my other grandfather on the phone, telling me my dog is also alright when I ask him how he’s doing, just because he knows I worry. Love is the scritch scratch of my dog’s paws on the wooden floor when he runs to me, it’s his big brown eyes and my desperate need for him to know how much I adore him. Love is hazy, sepia-tinted afternoons in my friends’ college apartment, sprawled on the floor and talking about life and death, pop culture and politics, boys, and philosophy. Love is texting a friend I haven’t spoken to in a fortnight just so that they know I’m thinking of them. Love is the knick-knacks on my nightstand, bottle caps and champagne corks, a charm of Buttercup from Powerpuff girls and a pink Hot Wheels car from the day my friend and I saw the Barbie movie—the odds and ends of a life. Love is my friend sending me a clip of my favorite scene from a particular movie on Instagram. Love is saying “text me when you get home” and “send me your Uber license plate number.”
Yes, love can be and often is spoken, but you feel its depths in these unwritten acts, the “just-becauses”. It is as natural as the instinctive I love you at the end of a phone call. It’s not a question, it’s a knowing that’s in the commonplace. Love is the everyday, it’s stability and security. Love is the anchor, not the wave. I love and I am loved, and every day I am grateful for pictures of beautiful lilies.
If you’d like to share one of your tiny moments that revealed a big idea about love, feel free to contribute to the “Nothing like the Sun” column by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
Edited by Noor Hatimy, Sex and Relationships Editor