Written by Lorece Harris.
Graphic by Peyton Cabaniss.

I used to think love was
loud.

I grew up in a Latino household, where everyone had an opinion and we wanted
you

to know about it. That meant when we fought, it was earth shattering, and when
we

celebrated, it was the feeling of unconditional support and belonging. And it was
always

loud

.

I recently adopted a kitten, and I learned that love can be
quiet.

This love, this 7 pound, meowing love, snuggles with me at 3am when I can’t
sleep.

Looks longingly at all the counters that he won’t (or, at least, shouldn’t) jump on. Curls
up

and purrs in my lap when I have deadlines, and family stress, and the full weight of
my

course load coming down on me all at once. Sticks his paw under the bathroom door when I

try to go in
alone.

It opened my
eyes.

Because love isn’t always grandeur and graduation parties and quinceñeras
(which

could all be the same word, really). It’s also the way a child smiles at her mother. It’s taking

out the trash for your grandpa, because he needs some help and would never tell
you. It’s

my mom’s screams of excitement when she found out I was going to college. It’s my
cat’s

soft purr at
3am.

And most importantly, it’s the belief that as long as the Earth turns, there will
always

be love. I, like many, come from a long history of divorces and strained family
marriages-
and combining it with all the hate and injustice in the world, it’s easy to convince
ourselves

that it’s not there, not as strong as it used to be – that love has
abandoned us.

But sit on any street corner long enough, and you’ll see someone drop their
books,

and a stranger stopping to help pick them up. A phone conversation where someone’s eyes

light up with laughter. A kiss stolen by a strolling couple. An elderly pair walking hand
in

hand. (Even cuter if the latter two are the same
people).

I grew up thinking love was loud – that’s how I knew to express myself, I looked
for

it in others, and I despaired if it wasn’t reciprocated the same way. But like most
things in

life, it’s not so black and white. Also like most things in life – and here, I look at my
cat

sleeping in his little bed – it comes in the way you least
expect.

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