Frank sipped the fine blend of gin from the glass, enjoying the silence and warmth of the real fire across from him. Calm, reflective, not holding onto any thoughts that might disturb that preciously focussed time of his evening. Normally, he’d have been out in the garden, the taxi driver for his family, or even putting together something or other. Tonight, however, was rest night.
He watched the flames move, whispering in and out of existence, as he felt a disturbance next to his calm. That disturbance, of course, would have small feet, little hands and a tiny, cute, pink nose and go by the usual name of trouble.
“Hello trouble, aren’t you supposed to be in bed?” said Frank, turning his head slightly to see her small little face. She smiled the cutest smile imaginable which, understandably, usually meant that she got whatever she wanted.
“What is the meaning of love?” she asked, her face filled with inquisitive wishes of understanding and wonder. He could see the innocence still held within each corner of her heart, mind and eyes. Frank chuckled to himself. One of his other tasks was being an oracle, the constant source of answers for the never ceasing question of, ‘why?’.
Frank smiled, as she hopped onto the seat next to him, resting her head against his arm. He knew that such a question or, should he say, answer, would stay with her for a long time. He himself had experienced every notion of the word, the highs, the lows, the pain and more importantly, the loss.
“That’s quite a good question and it’s not that easy to answer! Love is,” Frank paused a little, wishing to truly give the subject matter the thought that it deserved, “Everything. It’s the way you smile, it can be within every spoken word, every action and how you feel about every single person!”
Olivia’s nose crunched up slightly, as she replied, “Even Amelia who’s always mean to me?”
“Yes,” replied Frank, “Even Amelia. If you can understand why Amelia is mean, then through that understanding, you can appreciate and ignore her words. Understanding is also love.”
“But Grandpapa, what ‘is’ love?”
“Well, love is supposed to be how you feel about someone. You appreciate them, care for that person and, as I said, listen and understand them. How do you feel when you hold your Mummy’s hand?”
Olivia sprung up from his arm, looking straight into Frank’s eyes, “I feel happy. Safe!”
“Then that is also love!”
“I know that I love Mummy, but should I really love everyone?”
Frank chuckled again, “You don’t ‘have’ to love everyone, but it is a better way of living. Love is caring, even when it would be easier not to do so.”
“Is love always warm and will it always make me happy?”
Frank suddenly wished to be elsewhere, as he replied to the difficult question, “I hope it does Olivia, I truly hope that it does. Although, people will try to take your love from you, to make you see the wide world in a different way, but no matter what happens to you, you can still hold love within your brave heart and manage to smile!”
Olivia shrugged her shoulders, more or less moving away from the question.
“Can I have some ice-cream? Please.”
“It’s a little late for that, but because I love you and you said please, why not! I might even have some myself!”
They both moved from the sofa, as Olivia raised her arms. Frank scooped her up, her cute, silly face, making faces,
“I love you grandpa!”
“I love you too Olivia and I always will!”