Excerpt: Essays in Love, de Botton

We had been sitting in silence, she reading the papers, I gazing through the window at the traffic and people outside. Suddenly she leaned over, gave me a kiss, and whispered, “You’re wearing your lost orphan boy look again.” No one had ever ascribed such an expression to me before, though when she mentioned it, it at once accorded with and alleviated the confused sadness I happened to be feeling at the time. I felt an intense (and perhaps disproportionate) love for her on account of that remark, because of her awareness of what I had been feeling but had been unable to formulate myself, for her willingness to enter into my world and objectify it for me — a gratefulness for reminding the orphan that he is an orphan, and hence returning him home.

Perhaps it is true that we do not really exist until there is someone there to see us existing, we cannot properly speak until there is someone there who can understand what we are saying, in essence, we are not wholly alive until we are loved.


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