“I see,” says Jeeves, her voice gentle as Leo fights to stop the tears. “Are you sure she doesn’t love you?”
“No, no, that’s not it at all,” Leo responds. “I mean, that is it. I’m not sure. She says she loves me. Why can’t I believe her?”
Jeeves rises and goes to stand at the front window, watching the sleet turn the world dark gray. “The eternal question,” she murmurs, so quietly Leo asks her to repeat herself. “The one we ask ourselves daily. Are we truly lovable?” She moves toward the kitchen. “I’m pouring more tea, Leo, can I get you a mug?”
He nods. “Thank you,” he says, meaning more than just the tea.
She brings both steaming mugs back to where he sits, waiting. For a moment he is convinced she will reveal the answer he’s been seeking, the one that will guide his next steps, the one that will allow him to rest in the knowledge that, for once, he is sure of doing the right thing.
“The truth is, my friend, every person on this dear planet of ours is lovable. Profoundly, deeply, lovable. Even the awful people who do dreadful things, someone loves them. I don’t mean a divine power, although that might also be true. I mean a mother, or a friend, or a follower. Human beings simply inspire love. It is the same as breathing for us. Yet we struggle mightily at times to recognize it.”
Leo listens. It is as if Jeeves is speaking more to herself than to him, as she goes on.
“We struggle to let in this love that comes our way. Even though there is literally nothing we crave more than being loved, when it is offered, we mistrust it. These huge brains of ours find reasons to disbelieve it. And then we make choices to push it away.”
She stands, suddenly, as if the energy of her next statement must be expressed upright. “Don’t push it away, Leo. I did, once, and while life has been good to me, I still wonder where I would be if I had embraced the love offered to me.”