Love is many things.

It’s my yes and her no, spoken with honest kindness on the tongue. It’s how she laughs when, with a hand between her legs, I whisper the wrong thing. Love is lying next to each other making ourselves come when we’re too tired for anything else, and it’s the morning sun in her hair that won’t let me fall back asleep. Love is silence and ease along with screams and struggle.

But don’t forget the sacrifice and the compromise they whisper and don’t forget the tearing and breaking that comes when longing is too hard to bear. Don’t forget the hard choices and the letting go. Don’t forget the agony of love in all its shapes and sizes.

But no one could forget all that, it’s simply not what we always choose to remember. Because in every moment of missing her touch there is love. In every moment of worry and doubt there is a connection to my heart that reminds me of the why. There is no grief without great love, and there is no longing without a wild togetherness.

Love is his smile that says my loneliness is allowed, and it’s her touch that says I can cry for hours and still be okay. It’s her kiss in the night that rescues me from a nightmare and his hand on my cheek that forces me to see the compassion in his eyes. Love is holding her trembling and holding her in joy. Her bravery and her risk surround me. Her lips on my chest calm me, and her want brings me instantly into the present.

At work, on the subway, alone in the dark, and surrounded by friends, love is the home I struggle to remember. It’s the warm fire and the cooling breeze. Love is the center of the storm that doesn’t shake when everything else begins to fall away.

Love is many things.