Matthew and I spent the greater part of the night walking around the museum looking at various paintings and sculptures from various eras. We’d comment on the art, debate on our takes on the themes and inspirations behind them as well as enjoying each other’s company.
“Your grandmother looks younger than her age.” Matthew commented. “For a moment I thought she was your stepmother.”
“Well that’s where I get my youth from. Basically everyone from my dad’s side of the family has is.” I chuckled. “My dad still looks the same after I was born – except for the grey hair perhaps. My older sister looks like she’s in her mid-twenties even though she’s already in her thirties. Then there’s me, looking like a whole teenager.”
“Your family really is unique.” He commented.
“Thanks, I guess.” I replied.
“Are you close with your grandmother?”
I looked at him.
“I mean given that she basically raised you, I assume that you two are close.” He said.
“We are…” I trailed off in deep thought. “she’s basically the only mother figure I had all my life.”
“I dunno…sometimes I just feel like I want my mother’s love over hers.” I said. “Like I appreciate her being there for me and my sister, loving me, raising me to be who I am, but part of me wishes I had that with my mom. Part of me wishes that I had a mother’s love and not a grandmother’s love.”
“I don’t see the difference between a mother’s love and a grandmother’s love.” He said. “Personally, I think that both are the same because a grandmother can love her grandkids the same way she loves her own kids. Love is love no matter who gives and receives it and I think you’re lucky to have had your grandmother to give you that kind of love.”
“I guess you’re right.” I said. “It’s just that it’s hard to think that way.”
We went silent.
“Anyway, thanks for bringing me here.” I said, breaking the silence. “You didn’t have to but I appreciate the gesture.”
“There is one particular reason why I brought you here.” He said.
I arched an eyebrow. “Which is?”
“Follow me.” He took my wrist and pulled me to wherever he wanted to take me.
After what felt like minutes of walking across a few hallways, he took me into a secluded room. There I found a big painting that hung high up on the wall. My eyes widened, recognising the painting.
“Is that –“
“The Kiss by Gustav Klimt?” he finished. “Yes it is. I thought I’d bring you here so you can have a proper appreciation of the real thing.”
I took a few steps closer to the painting, the awe expression on my face still present. It was exactly how I saw it online, a couple in what looked like an edge of a flowery meadow that ended under the woman’s feet. The man’s gold robe had geometrical patterns and subtle swirls and wore a vine crown on his head. The woman’s dress had floral patterns and unlike the man, she wore a floral crown on her head.
Both were locked in an intimate embrace – the man bending down toward the woman with his hand cradling the woman’s face while she had her eyes closed with an arm around the man’s neck and the other resting gently on his hand, upturned to receive a kiss.
“What do you think?” he asked, standing next to me.
“I’m impressed.” I answered. “It seems like he had an appreciation of Art Nouveau, Modern Art, Symbolism and Vienna Secession movements from what I’m seeing.”
“What do you think inspired him to paint this piece?”
I looked at him.
“I already told you my take. I want to hear yours.”
I looked back at the painting. What do I think inspired this painting?
“I think it’s all about learning and understanding Love.” I said. “Maybe this woman fell in love with the man but was inexperienced with it and was trying to understand the emotions that comes with it and the man pulled her into an embrace and kissed to give her the assurance not to be afraid and promised to help her learn how to embrace love.”
“Because Love is scary.” I answered. “Love may have been portrayed as this out of this world blissful experience but the truth is it’s scary, it’s terrifying especially for those who have no clue on how to handle such strong emotions. It’s even scarier when you end up loving the wrong person.
“You get worried about people not approving of your relationship with the person you love so much you start questioning if you made the right choice loving that person or if it will work out for the both of you because you feel this pressure to leave them for the sake of pleasing those who were against you being with that person. Sometimes you worry if you’re good enough to be with that person.
“It’s because of these thoughts and scenarios, you start having doubts. But” I looked at him. “when you look at that person sees you, touches you, kisses you, those worries and doubt go away. You feel reassured that no matter what, they will stand by you and guide you through these new found emotions you’re experiencing. What’s a good way of experiencing Love for the first time with the person you love, right?”
There was silence between us. He stared deeply at me while I tried my best to maintain eye contact with him and not let my composure falter under his sharp abd studious gaze. I blushed when he took a step closer to me as he took my hand into his while still looking at me
“Are you scared of Love, Beverley?”
Abort mission! Abort mission!
I chuckled. “You’re asking someone who’s never dated and has to rely on Wattpad and Webtoons to seek dating advice. I wouldn’t really know if I am or not.” I answered.
“Okay, but hypothetically speaking. Are you?”
I paused briefly, staring into his eyes. “Maybe?”
He chuckled. “You know that doesn’t answer the question, right?”
I shrugged. “Take it or leave it.”
After a few minutes of chuckling, his smile faltered a little as he cupped my face with his free hand. “You don’t have to be afraid.” He said.
He leaned in and closed the gap between our lips and kissed me.
I’m not scared of Love. I’m scared of falling for you.