Features

My Romance Diary

Finding Love in Simplicity: A Journal

22nd January, 2022- Mumbai, India

It had been the perfect day. We met for brunch, checked out bookstores and drove
aimlessly through the congested streets of the city I called home. But my favourite part
was the way it ended. The sweltering midday heat, a parked car and two ice-cream cones
to keep its passengers company. Time stood still within those glass windows and we were
only reminded of its passing by the melted ice-cream that dripped onto my pants as I
enthusiastically reminisced a memory we shared in high school. The playlist we’d
curated together was playing in the background and he was at the wheel, listening
patiently, engulfed by the same nostalgia that consumed me. He’d been a close friend of
mine for five years now, and in those years, one too many ambitious plans had been
charted out: crazy nights out, bar hopping and even planning a trip with our other school
mates. This day never made the list; it just wasn’t exciting enough, but as it turns out that
was exactly our brand of fun…

15th February, 2022, London- Cardiff

The reds and pinks that had painted the world for the past week had begun to fade. Valentine’s
Day had passed. I spent the last evening in bed, watching rom-coms, indulging in some
much needed skincare, and gorging myself on Valentine’s cupcakes that I found in the
clearance section of the grocery store for £1.50. A simple night in, just what was needed
to reaffirm some much needed self-love.

On the same night, around 246 kilometres away in London, was my best friend, having a
Valentine’s Day of her own, with a guy she’d been dating for a while. She’d told me, on
one of our weekly phone calls, about how they’d booked a table at ‘The Ivy’ for dinner,
whilst also asking me to suggest possible gift ideas for him, since he’d supposedly picked
out the ‘perfect one’ for her. On D-day (or V-Day) however, there was a change in plan.

All of a sudden, the drinks and dinner that were previously considered fancy were seen as
‘too much’, especially for two homebodies who liked nothing better than to enjoy the
simple pleasures of the indoors (gosh they really found each other, hadn’t they?) . And so
they improvised. Dinner and drinks were substituted with Italian takeout and grocery
store wine, after which they spent two hours assembling a Lego flower bouquet that now sits, in a vase in her room. She told me all about their day on the phone, and as much as she understated it, repeatedly saying that “it wasn’t very eventful”, I knew her well and knowing her means knowing that this was exactly her idea
of ‘perfect’.

19th February, 2022 -London

It was shaping up to be a terrible day. Two hours of travel amidst storm Eunice callously
made her way through the UK, followed by a gloomy afternoon packed with work, she
had neither the time nor the energy to spend time with him, the boy who stole her heart.
They met on a dating app— the last place she ever expected to find something
substantial, but both life and people tend to surprise you sometimes, don’t they? And
today was a day like that. While she worked tirelessly all afternoon, he was in the
kitchen, cooking her lunch that they then enjoyed together over an episode of ‘The Big
Bang Theory. In the grand scheme of things, this probably wasn’t much, but there’d been
problems recently, the kind that compromise the strength of a relationship. And even
though stability had long been restored, sometimes one just needs a home cooked meal
and one hug too many, to know that all’s well.

For you see, to love is an everyday activity, whether it’s yourself, the friend you’ve
known for half a decade or the stroke of serendipity that now makes you a meal when
you’re tired and makes Lego artefacts with you. It’s not grandiose and it won’t give you
butterflies. Sometimes, love finds a home in the mundane…

Words by Ananya Ranjit

13th January 2022:

After a sleepless night and my social battery hitting zero, the last thing I wanted was to be surrounded by
people. I was annoyed, sleep-deprived, irritable- basically a nightmare. Now when I suggested that I
didn’t want to see anyone, that didn’t include my partner. He was out having lunch with a friend, and I
had texted him asking him to come over for a little while after they were done. I’ve found that even if my
social battery is entirely depleted, my partner is one of the only people who can show up and make me
feel re-energised. He shows me romance and kindness every single day. But, the reason I bring up this
day specifically is the fact that he didn’t just come to my house with open arms, he came with the cutest
pot of tiny magenta flowers. The same flowers are still going strong on my windowsill to this day.

December 2022:

Cooking with my partner is something I actively look forward to when we sleep over at each other’s
houses. I find there is something inherently intimate about collaborative cooking, especially if you’re
doing it with someone you truly love. This time in particular, we cooked a delicious spicy pasta.
Complete with lashings of parmesan cheese & eaten at candlelight across his kitchen table. It was truly
delightful. But what sets this meal apart from the others is one moment during the evening, where we
took a pause from cooking to hold each other close and attempt to ballroom dance in his steamy, cramped
kitchen. Admittedly, I learned my skills from my partner, who had in turn learned them from watching
Strictly Come Dancing as a kid- but it was raw, childish fun. Not only did I find this incredibly romantic,
but it definitely healed some part of my inner child.

August 13th 2021:

Whilst on a draining 3 and a half hour coach to London, the air conditioning was on the highest setting
possible. Considering the summer heat, it should’ve been absolutely fine, right? Wrong. People were
shivering and complaining to the driver (who did turn it off in the end) but it was an uncomfortable few
hours. During the journey, to my left was a middle aged couple sharing a jacket that was definitely only
made for one, whilst snuggling close and periodically making sure the other was warm enough.
Occasionally, one would pull their mask down to give the other a gentle kiss (which reminded me of my
partner and I, and made me smile a little). In that moment I also realised that Covid may have changed the
way people express romance, but it could never completely stop the expression of love. These small,
benign acts that I saw on a random coach trip truly made me think about the simple ways that you can
show kindness and love in everyday life.

Words by Laura Mae

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