When love is a verb that you’re living, it becomes your entire state of being.
Feeling (noun): an emotional state or reaction. A feeling may be a noun, but love done right is a verb.
What is love? Being in love is holding hands and hugging hard. It’s fighting over stupid things, saying things you don’t mean and then apologizing. It’s drinking too much and lying down on the damp ground, shoulders touching, stars dancing dizzily above you.
It’s saying “I love you” for the first time, the words bursting out of you in a single breath, inhaling their “I love you, too” in return. It’s spending Christmas with his family and Thanksgiving with hers, even if neither one of you is really comfortable doing that yet.
Love is learning the art of truly listening and avoiding the temptation of simply waiting for your turn to talk. It’s making space for somebody to be their best selves. It’s leaving the last slice of pizza and the last piece of cake.
It’s attempting to make his mom’s chicken noodle soup instead of warming up a can of Campbell’s in the microwave. It’s baking her a lopsided birthday cake with drippy frosting instead of buying one at the grocery store.
Love is holding her in her sleep, even though you’re burning up because her body retains heat like a moving furnace. It’s eating really weird food when she’s on a diet and not making any faces until she turns her back.
It’s pretending that you don’t mind kissing him when he straight up tastes like a garlic clove. It’s remembering that forgiveness is a daily practice and grace a lifelong work in progress. It’s infrequently ordering flowers, but frequently giving back rubs and foot massages.
Love is moonlit walks on the beach but it’s also long walking down even longer hospital corridors, each step lonelier than the last. It’s shaving her head when she can’t bear to see all that hair on her pillows, in her brush, collected in the shower drain. It’s forgetting how to be squeamish around blood, learning how to change IV lines, and developing a second sense about when to pass the puke bucket.
It’s reassuring him it’s OK to move on, to meet somebody new, because if he mopes around for too long once you’re gone you’ll give him a ghostly kick in the ass. It’s finding memories in the way her pillowcase smells when you press your face into it.
Love is saying a hundred hellos and a thousand goodbyes. It’s an exercise in self-restraint and self-respect. It’s breaking down boundaries in the best possible ways but never abandoning the posts you have stationed along the tender lines of your heart.
It’s always having a plan but never living by your expectations. It’s opening up your chest and letting another person climb inside, and trusting them to be a good tenant.
What is love? Well, love is never just a noun, just a feeling. It’s always shifting, changing, morphing, moving. It’s a painting with endless brushstrokes, a pottery wheel that never stops spinning. The truest love packs as much action as a superhero movie into one minute of bodies melting into each other like warm butter.