It was lunchtime on an ordinary Saturday, I ordered the salad I always did, to-go, to eat in bed with the man I loved. We drove home, him sitting willingly in the passenger seat to cater my need for control. One hand was placed haphazardly on the wheel, the other trying to sip at the three parts lemonade, one part water in my cup—and then it broke, my straw broke. I laughed and joked at the straw’s expense, the one that no longer allowed me to sip back the sour taste of pink lemonade. And then, without a second thought, he smiled, pulled the mutilated straw from my drink, and put his flawless one in its place. At a red light I caught a glimpse of him trying to arrange the straw, the one I had broken, in a way that he could still sip at his overly-caffeinated beverage. But his face was not one that regretted his sacrifice, nor one that resented me for it, it was one of love. Pure and defect-less, much like the straw he had given me instinctually. Not because he had to, but because his love had stirred a want to.
The moment I felt most deeply loved was not in the passionate throws of sex. Nor was it over a candlelight dinner, or in a goodnight kiss. This moment was not one of grandeur gesture, not a story to memorialize, but a blimp in time easily forgettable. It was a memory centered around a straw. And not despite, but because of its unglamorous nature, I adore these few seconds of my life.
To be in love has always been something that connoted a seeking of personal gain. “I love the way you make me feel.” “I love the things you buy for me.” “I love the things you do for me.” “I am in love with the way you change my life, boost my ego, and give me the security I crave.” But on the contrary, to seek understanding of, to seek knowing, appeared to be the most selfless thing in the universe. To have someone out there, studying me under a seemingly microscopic lens, was an extraordinary gift. Arguably, the greatest gift I could ever ask for.
I love the very notion of someone remembering to take the onions off of my number-three meal, calling me to check if I turned in my assignment that was due that morning, and leaving the side of the bed closest to the door open for me. The concept of innumerable days bringing together unlikely minds, was one I thought of often. To be quite blunt, I was obsessed with this idea. To operate as in a unit, a friendship, a relationship, a companionship, was in my mind, the greatest blessing I could ever receive.
I adore the ordinary, everyday moments of monogamy. The moments of grocery shopping, and helping them test drive cars, reminding them of their doctors appointments, and printing off the resume they forgot to, taking care of them when they’re sick, and reminding them that they, in fact, did not like the cherry flavor the last time they tried it. I have daydreamed of partnership and friendship, far more than I ever have of passion, lust, or beds covered in rose petals.
Saying this is not for the sake of painting myself as the stand-alone, low-maintenance woman. Sure, I appreciate the dinners, the flowers, the opened doors. But, nothing is more exciting than the mere proposition that someday I might be able to spend a lifetime with a partner who will bring home the right kind of hummus, quote the obscure television shows we watch together, and spend his Friday nights laughing together in the middle of a crowded dinner party, at a joke no one else could ever understand.
In my mind, love will never be about the grand gestures. And if I am wrong, and love was actually intended to be about the bouquets of flowers, and the romantic poetry of the world, I have a sneaky suspicion we’ll all be waking up, and falling out of love at alarming rates. To me, love is the rotisserie chicken I buy on Tuesday to eat with the man, who will automatically flip to channel four because he knows my favorite TV show is on. These are not low standards. This isn’t settling for less. This is loving the simple things, just as we all should.