The color of love

Michele Savaunah Zirkle Marcum

Pulling tiny candy hearts with messages out of a box was a delight when I was ten. I’d pick one and guess what it said, believing that if I guessed correctly the message was one that applied to my love life. It was a surprising, fun game like shaking the message in an 8-ball.

From “Be Mine” to “Kiss Me,” I was hooked on the guessing game. It was a luscious game, full of yummy flavors … and no one got hurt. As I grew up, the true taste of love rolled across my palette, bittersweet at best.

Browsing the Valentine’s section in the store the other day, a familiar pink box with a plastic heart-shaped window snagged my attention. For nostalgia’s sake or, possibly the sugar rush, I purchased the Sweetheart candy and headed home.

I spread contents of the box on the table, reading the messages. “Girl Power,” one said. “Luv 2 Dance,” said another. I scoured the rest looking for “I’m Urs,” and “Hug Me,” but the words I was seeking were not to be found. This replicated the loss for words I’d been feeling this particular Valentine’s season.

I grabbed a handful, hearts of every color filling my hand. I’ll make up a different game, I thought. I’ll guess the colors rather than the words. After guessing a few times, a question presented itself. Red is the color of the actual pumping heart, but what is the color of true love?

The heart chakra color is green. Yellow is sunshine and happiness and what yummy feeling accompanies love more than happiness? Then there’s purple hearts for the soldiers who love our freedom so much they risk their lives to protect us and that is definitely an expression of love. Blue hearts are the symbol for a campaign against human trafficking and certainly that cause was born out of love.

So, what’s the real color of love? According to Sade’s popular 80’s song, the “Sky is the color of love,” but so is the embrace by her lover. This infers that love’s “color” is felt, not just seen—that love is an obscure, yet recognizable feeling. So, maybe love can be any color we choose. Maybe the color of love is a blend of all the colors, the hue a combination of the good and the bad. With one bite it is both sweet and bitter.

On the other hand, maybe love is colorless or at best, has many shades, some dark, some lighter, but all based on the perception of the one looking.

I’ve often felt love was just a figment of my imagination like colors actually are. Colors are created by various wavelengths of light reflecting off a surface. The light isn’t colored, yet the object it strikes produces what we see as color.

When we truly love someone we see them in a different light than we would see them if we despised them. We see the color, the essence, of them that we want to see. We see in them a reflection of ourselves.

People aren’t color-by-number forms—they are a canvas, splotched with a variety of textures onto which we reflect light. We decide how bright or how dim that light is.

Paradoxically, like Shakespeare proposed, maybe love is blind. And that may be the best color of all.

Michele Savaunah Zirkle Marcum

Michele can be reached at or Access more at\lifespeaks.

Michele can be reached at or Access more at\lifespeaks.