I saw it at the 2013 Seattle Pride Parade. As the Seattle Police Department walked by, some officers hand in hand with their partners, my eyes rested on a couple outlining the parade route. A smiling woman was picking something out of her girlfriend’s teeth, both laughing as one finger traced the beginnings of a smile while other hands rested on hips and arms. I thought to myself, that’s love.
I saw it on an eighty degree afternoon while sitting in a quaint neighborhood coffee shop. A mother was telling her five-year-old-daughter-turned-pretend-puppy where to throw away her trash. With a wrapper in her mouth and a stuffed dog in her arms the pig tailed child waddled to the reciprocal and opened wide, dropping the wrapper in the bin. I looked up from my computer and smiled, chuckling loudly enough for the mother and daughter to hear. The pretend puppy then waddled over to me, quietly barking and licking what could have only been an imaginary folded puppy dog ear. I laughed and waved and looked at the mother, who was smiling and proud and extending her hand towards the future. I thought to myself, that’s love.
I saw it on the day of my college graduation. I had walked across the stage and received my diploma and felt the exciting sadness of another milestone passed. We had been friends for years and dating for months, yet things were still new and fresh the way only a hopeful relationship can be. With proud grandparents camera ready and parents yelling directions, he turned to face only me. He put my head in his hands and looked in my eyes, then picked my nose. Now, I was camera ready. I thought to myself, that’s love.
I saw it in the cancer wing of a hospital. She was beautifully bald and smiling, despite bouts of nausea and debilitating exhaustion and endless rounds of toxic treatment to go. With a knock of the door her young husband peeked his head through, showing off homemade brownies like a child does a prize. He kissed her on the top of her head and set the tupperware beside her bed and whispered in her ear that they had a special ingredient, thanks to a college friend’s connections. He told her to have fun and listen to Bob Marley and they both smiled and laughed and for a moment forgot about the how and the whys and the what ifs. I thought to myself, that’s love.
I saw it in a car at three in the morning. We needed to drive and escape and recharge so we exchanged our dorm rooms for an endless Texas road. We didn’t find the need to talk or feel an obligation to explain, we simply bought McDonalds ice cream cones and fries while listening to our favorite band ten decibels too loud. We didn’t need enlightened words or unending conversations or grand displays of friendship. We simply needed to be next to the other. I thought to myself, that’s love.
It doesn’t always look how I imagined or reveal itself when I need it but I have seen it before.
There. Is. Love.