I love loudly. Always have.
Maybe it's the writer in me, or the actress in me, or the fact that I'm a youngest child, but for as long as I can remember, I've been the sort of person who loves big. I love big and I love outward, and there's not a person in the room who doesn't know when I love the person sitting beside me. Not a thing about me is subtle, not really. (Except maybe my passion for chain restaurants, because I'm fully aware of how lame and sad and Midwest it is to adore a place like Olive Garden. Still, I mean — the breadsticks.)
The point is, my love can sometimes be a bit deafening in its force, and I've found that it can be both comforting and terrifying, both reassuring and altogether paralyzing for a person to be on the other end of that loud kind of love. For a long time, I don't think I knew of anything different. I'm fortunate enough to have over-the-top, outrageously giving parents who show their love in everyday Post Its on the bathroom mirror, in rooms filled with balloons, and in giant posters that say "You did it!" at every finish line, literally and figuratively. To love, I learned early on, was to say it. To do it.
Every day there was a note, and with every good grade or well-played game, there was a dinner of your choosing — that's the way it worked for our family. And don't even get me started on birthdays.
Buoyed by loud love in all its noisy, chaotic glory, it's now the only way I know to be. Sometimes I find that it's a strength, and other times I know it to be unnecessary — cloying, even, and in the wrong hands, a bit selfish. It's sort of magnificent, though, to know love like that. An obvious, palpable love.
Of course, of course I married Radley. My husband loves quietly, confidently, and with such good, true intention that it sort of knocks the wind out of you. His quiet love, it sneaks into the way he listens, rapt, and the way he can calm a person, any person, and the way he pours your coffee into the better mug, although you know he'd rather have it for himself. You can make out Radley's love in how he laughs quickly and forgives easily. How he comforts. It's found in his knowing smile, in how he looks at you when you're laughing, his eyes crinkling at the corners while a light spreads itself across his face.
I admire it — quiet love. There's something to be said for feelings that don't need to be shouted, for the steady, everyday love that's all the more powerful in its sweet, barely-there whisper.