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Things I Saw That Looked Like Love

This morning I got on the subway armed with a freshly downloaded Spotify Discover Weekly playlist and a half read New Yorker. I was headed to a couple doctor’s appointments and liked knowing I had a way to pass travel and waiting room time. But as I sat down on the off-commuting-hours train, I noticed the person across from me. They opened their phone, presumably read a message or note from someone, and smiled.

I watched their face light up in that goofy, stupid, falling-in-love kind of way as they typed and erased and typed and erased and grinned so completely I thought it had to make their face a little tired. I paused my music. Maybe today I would just observe love.

In the waiting room at doctor one, I observed someone walk into the reception space. The security guard greeted them with such enthusiasm and joy that the rest of the waiting patients looked up in surprise. Hugs were exchanged. Reflections on how long it had been were shared. And the last thing I noted as I was escorted down the hall was someone else entering the space and the scene replaying with new characters.

After the appointment, I set off through Central Park en route to doctor two. Even in the chilly January air and even in the middle of the work week, I watched families and runners and dog walkers and I wasn’t looking for love until I noticed three older teenagers sitting atop one of the rock piles. They each had a coffee cup in their hands and a glittery tiara on their heads. Three small pastries, in various states of consumption, sat on crumpled paper between them. There was a celebration in them that I could feel from afar and as I kept walking south, I had the sound of their laughter in my ears.

Appointment 2. New doctor. Annual checkup. We talked about exercise and I mentioned my recent marathon. The doctor is also a marathon runner. In between blood pressure checks and stethoscope breaths, we shared races we’d like to complete and joked about the way it feels to run the Central Park hills at the end of the New York City marathon. There’s an immediate kinship—this being connected by sport. I wondered what race updates we will share next year.

By the time I left appointment 2, it had started to rain/snow. I say rain/snow because that is the only way to describe what happens when the temperature hovers just above freezing and the sky can’t commit to the size or consistency of what will soon cover my grey peacoat. At this point, my day had been productive, but long and I already had my eyes on the hot shower and cup of tea that were waiting for me at home.

I was powerwalking to the train, dodging puddles in my “worst possible shoes to wear in the rain” kicks, when I glanced into the cozy and delicious bagel store I had been to a few times prior with the little boy I used to babysit. I was thinking about those memories when I noticed the young couple at a corner table. They were facing each other, both perched on the edge of their seat, leaning together in conversation until their noses nearly touched. And their eyes were fire.

I knew I wanted my evening to consist of a hot shower, a hot tea, and an empty Google doc but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. I’d been feeling a bit of a creative rut the past couple weeks and I wondered how I could power my way through it. Though now, I’m wondering if sitting down and forcing myself to write is always the right decision. Sometimes, it might make more sense to get on the train, walk in the park, and look for love.

So here is the mission—should you choose to accept it. Go out tomorrow, somewhere outside of your normal routine. Look for love. Look for joy. Look for laughter. See it in the young couple in the bagel shop and the three friends in the park. See it in the coworkers reuniting and the connections between strangers. See it in the little moments that we so often let pass without noticing, without appreciating, without reveling in.

Allow yourself to be in awe of all the love encompassing us.


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