Ruhika Nandy / Daily Nexus

From: Kayura Narayanan <>

To: A <>

Subject: In the small things

Dearest A, 

It was a few weeks after I broke up with my longtime partner, the one that I thought I truly loved, when I told you that I didn’t believe in love anymore. It’s safe to say that this feeling didn’t leave the crevices of my body for the longest time, not even while reading Sappho’s poetry or correspondences between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok. Until last week, I’d been freshly cursing out campus couples to my roommates (you know Peej and Aurora), nitpicking the PDA I passed on my walk to Phelps Hall and the couples holding each other in the library (time and place, people). 

This was until I unknowingly stepped through a couple holding hands during lunch rush in the jam-packed-horrible-architectural-mishap hallway in Girvetz Hall. A, I think that I was sucked into some sort of PDA-witchcraft portal and spit out on the other side of Isla Vista. I don’t know what exactly changed at that moment, but it felt as though the part of my heart that dried up like preserved tea had been soaked in warm water again. I see love everywhere. 

I see it in the ways that I pass rows and racks of too many bikes and not enough spaces, where people lock their bikes together, leaning against each other in a lovely, beautiful way. The bikes are in love, A, and I watch it unravel everyday. I see it in the darkest nights of Isla Vista, when girls laugh in tandem — their eyes are so full of it that it spills out as kisses they give out to each other. I see it in the way a group of friends race down the 66 block on their bikes, warm wind tousling their hair, cheeks going red, lighting up the gravel on the street. I see it on my walk to Embarcadero Hall, when a girl on a patio sprays a hose at the people below, water catching the sunlight like little diamonds gleaming over the house. 

Isla Vista is love. Every corner, every crack, every crevice is filled to the brim with it, and it leaves me with a stupid, dumbstruck smile on my face everytime I see it happen. We are so deeply human here, in this little town. This Valentine’s Day, A, I’m going to start looking at love in other places: in the cluster of yellow flowers on my desk that bloom with the sunrise and the rusted Subaru key that my roommate carefully rescued from the ocean. Love is always in the small things, A, you just have to look. 

With love (for real this time), 


A version of this article appeared on pg. 14 of the Feb. 16, 2023 edition of the Daily Nexus.