What is Love?

What is Love?

February 04, 2024

I spent the New Year's holidays with my family in Vienna, where a highlight of our visit was the Belvedere Palace and its 800-year art collection.

The best-known exhibit is The Kiss, painted by Gustav Klimt in 1908, an iconic work in the Art Nouveau style, with the organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement.

Some believe the inspiration was Apollo kissing Daphne in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Others argue it was Greek legend – Orpheus kissing Eurydice before losing her forever. We will never know, but seeing the painting made me reflect on a scene in Jessica's Clever Plan.

Jessica brought me back to the present. ‘If I ask you a question, will you give me an honest answer?’

‘I’ll try, but no promises.’

'OK. We’ve discussed this before, but this time, I want a proper answer.’ She drew a breath, her eyes fixed on my face. ‘You still love my mother, don't you?'

I put my hands on hers. 'I was in love with her, and I guess I always will be.'

Her eyes lit up with a brightness I hadn't seen before.

'But loving someone and being in love are different,’ I cautioned.

'How?’ asked Jessica.

'When you fall in love with someone, they can do no wrong. Even their annoying habits are amusing.'

‘Like farting. Did my mother have annoying habits?'

'Plenty,' I laughed.

Jessica's eyes were alive as she listened to me. 'And loving someone?'

My face became serious. 'That's when your lives become one, and you don't notice the things that used to annoy you.'

Jessica didn't ask what it means when the habits you ignored start to drive you mad, but I would have told her that's when you need to remember the all reasons you once fell in love.

A romantic drama, Jessica's Clever Planwill be published later this year.