At the beginning of chapter 16, Jonas is depressed from the weight of the memories. He says that he does not want the honor any more. The Giver assures him that not all memories are about pain. He shares his favorite memory, grandparents, and Jonas learns about love for the first time.
Later that night, Jonas asks his parents if they love him. They chide him for using imprecise language and explain that they enjoy him. Jonas is confused, so his mother explains.
"Your father means that you used a very generalized word, so meaningless that it's become almost obsolete," his mother explained carefully. (p. 127)
This event is important because Jonas is starting to realize that there are things missing from his life, and the lives of his parents. He understands that families SHOULD love one another. This is the first time he lies to his parents, because he tells them he understands that love is not real, when in fact he knows it is.
Jonas describes the way the world could be to Gabe. Jonas is becoming different from everyone else.
"Things could change, Gabe," Jonas went on. "Things could be different. I don't know how, but there must be some way for things to be different. There could be colors. (p. 128)
Thus, when Jonas tells Gabriel that there could be love, he has reached a crossroads. The author is telling us the Jonas’s world is far from perfect, and now Jonas knows it. He might even do something about it. We also realize that things have not always been as they are.