Love can be a quiet word

Love is a funny thing. People hear that I have never been in a long-term relationship and they often question if I am afraid of commitment. They look at the long list of addresses from my adult life, the chaotic employment history and they draw the conclusion that commitment and I don’t have a place together. But I have found many places to put my label of love.

Commitment doesn’t always lie in a dozen red roses, in diamond rings, and in shared mortgages. Commitment can bed itself in friendships forged over two decades of companionship, in long-distance phone calls, in airmailed birthday cards, and text messages on your first day of something new. I might not have been able to be tied down to one specific person for years, but I have picked up friends at their lowest, wiped snot from their tear-crusted faces, laughed with them on mountain-tops while feeling weightless, and left little notes for them to find on rough days. 

Romantic love isn’t always the hardest to find; it can be shoehorned into shape if you feel desperate enough, it might not fit the piece properly but people jab at it until the edges round off, and ‘it’ll do’. Romantic love is a place people seek comfort. But it is not where I seek mine. 

My comfort is found in warm gaggles of people that make me laugh until I cry and do that for me despite seeing the full truth of who I am. Acceptance can feel irreplaceable when you know distance and time have no meaning. 

I have been a committed friend to people I know I simply will never fall out of love with. There are friends that fill seats at birthday parties but then there are friends that are firmly wedged into your genetic makeup that you weave together a history and future that will never be apart. I know I say this at 26 years old, but I genuinely know there are people in my life that will belong there until I am old, grey, and can hardly even remember my own name. I don’t have to always shout it from the rooftops, sometimes I just whisper into their ear as we part ways at the tube station; this love is endless. Because love can be a quiet word.

So, yes, maybe I have not committed to a romantic love. But I have committed to more than that. I have committed to friendships that have built me into someone I am also learning to love. Love is about the quiet moments of remembering which friend hates tomatoes and saving them a portion before they get added to the salad. It is remembering to take straws to their house for pre-drinks because they still haven’t bought any. It is finding a note you passed to each other in year 9 science, and every word of affirmation still being true. Love and commitment take many forms. And the romantic one might find me one day - but until that moment I am basking in the glow of a love that will not die, a glow I have carefully cultivated over months, years and decades; a glow that will not go out. 

To my friend that are my glow. I commit to you, I always have and I always will. 


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