Conversations About Love
Prague. 1995. The cold war was over and it was spring. Light and airy. I had met Jay a few months earlier in a cafe in Malá Strana. He was working for the American embassy and I was on my first OE. We hit it off, as two foreigners with an interest in Czech literature and moved into a run-down house close to the old town almost immediately. Plaster was crumbling outside and in. The hot water worked only sometimes, as did the central heating.
But winter faded and sunlight would slash through the big windows, and the rooms took on a sense of magic for us. On cold nights we would warm ourselves in blankets and pass from hand to hand the apartment’s single drinking glass filled with cheap local whisky.
In a few years all this will be gone. The run down houses of the Old Town will be rejuvenated. With gentrification comes a loss to the young and the poor. Which is what we are. When I look back to this time, I know I had something real.
We’re walking by the Vltava River, morning mist rising like shy ghosts from under the Charles Bridge. There’s a make-shift market. In it, Jay buys me this Bohemian kimono of pale blue sprinkled with hippie flowers. I wear it everywhere around the apartment. We cook, we love, we dream. One day he asks me what I think love really is. Sitting at the window in my Kimono I shake my head, uncertain.
He: I think true love is when you are ready to sacrifice all the happiness in your life for the happiness of the one you love. If you do not need to think twice about it, then your love is pure.
Me: But isn’t that sad?
He: (smiling) That, my dear, is Love.