When the border blurs
between dreaming and reality.
story has many facets where fact and fiction become intertwined. It is
located in Germany. The video
dialog presents Chapter 4
- A Dream about Love.
"The past cannot be altered, but the future can be determined,"
said Erica. "This is the reason why I have taken up the research of
"Really?" I asked. "Or was a
part of the reason the potential it holds for wonderful things to happen?
Maybe I should take up the study myself."
"I would have recommended that you do,
if you hadn't started that research already," she answered, and
laughed. "Once you have started, you cannot break away from it; and
believe me, you really have started, possibly for that reason. I took up the
study of love for a different reason. An incident happened some months ago,
which literally forced me into it. It wasn't the kind of incident you might
suspect. Peter, I came close to being raped."
I shook my head in disbelief. It took a long
time to absorb that shock. "I am terribly sorry," I said quietly
when the shock wore off. "There shouldn't be men like that."
Erica agreed. "But don't be sorry for
me," she added. "I am not sorry that it happened. It was an
eye-opener for me."
She told me that she was on her way home,
walking from the mathematics building to the streetcar-stop. It was late. It
was dark. She said that she suddenly realized that there was someone behind
her. She turned around. It was a man. She walked faster. So did he. She told
me that as he was about to pass, he grabbed her, and held her mouth shut
from behind. He said he needed her. He pushed her towards a doorway. Once
inside the building, he told her not to make a sound, then slowly pulled his
hand away from her face. She said that he turned her around, towards him and
held her tight. She said she felt like screaming, but was too scared.
"Then, as if someone spoke to me," she added, "the idea came:
Don't struggle. Don't resist. If he wants sex, give it to him. That way you
won't get hurt." So, instead of waiting for him to force the issue, I
kissed the man quickly. It wasn't easy to do that. Still, I even allowed him
to kiss me back. I was resigned to let it happen for as long as he needed
it. But it only lasted for a few seconds, then the man exploded into his
pants. Moments later he sighed and apologized."
Erica said that he apologized profusely,
saying again and again that he didn't know what had come over him. She said
that he even asked her for a date at the end, in a very quiet tone of voice.
She said she turned him down, of course. She told him that friendships
couldn't be established by force, but by kindness and by enriching
one-another's life. She told him that he looked like an intelligent person,
and that he therefore should be able to establish a proper relationship with
someone. She said that she told him that he didn't need her. She paused, and
looked at me with a sad expression. "He replied to me, 'I know, I know,
but I find all the doors closed. For people on the outside, life is
difficult, lonely, and often desperate. You don't know how lucky you married
folks are, to have someone to be with.'"
Erica told me that she felt sorry for the man
afterwards, when she was in the streetcar, and that she felt also sorry for
her that she hadn't given the man a chance to have a date with her. She
said, "emotionally, he was like a beggar who hadn't eaten for a month,
who needed something, anything, even if it was just a kiss."
"You felt compassion for the man who
attacked you," I said quietly, "that's remarkable, Erica. Not many
people would be able to do that. He tried to force himself on you to commit
rape. I know only one person in the world who would feel sorry for such a
man, with an honest compassion, and that's you. It shows what a remarkable
person you really are."
"Thanks for the flattery, Peter,"
she said and smiled. "To me, that incident tells me what a rotten
society we have become. What a world have we created in which such beggars
are commonplace among such riches as we hold in ourselves? The man spoke of
closed doors, Peter, and he said please, and I answered him with a harsh,
no! Why couldn't I respond to his need, and say yes?"
She asked me what it would have cost her to
give the man a date in a public place, for a chat, for a kiss, or even a
date at the beach. "It would have cost me nothing," she said.
"In fact I would have gained a little self-respect, by being able to
help someone in need."
She told me that if a student had asked her
for a date to discuss microbiologic engineering, she would have gladly
helped. But the man had asked for so much less and needed help badly.
"What a person am I that I closed the door in the man's face, as
probably everyone else had done before me? Was he not a human being? That's
when I began my research of Love, Peter. That's what prompted it."
"But you couldn't have responded to the
man's need, being a married woman," I said to her. "If anyone had
seen you kissing, all hell might have broken loose between you and your
husband. That's probably why you couldn't respond as you now feel you should
have. I also would venture to guess that you never had a boyfriend, much
less a close boyfriend for all the years since you were married."
"Of course not," she replied.
"That's not possible. Obviously, neither did you ever have a girl
friend, much less one that you could be close to -- close enough for sex.
That's plain to see. But why haven't you, Peter? What crime have you
committed that you may never in your entire life be permitted to call
another woman a friend, and have a close association with that woman,
meeting also each other's sexual needs, as would be natural for human
beings? You people in the West cry like hell about the Iron Curtain that
divides the East and West, and believe me we do this too, while each of us
impose a much more impregnable division against one-another in our private
worlds. We impose a division in our own life that goes deeper and is wider
than all the political and religious divisions. For this we trash our
humanity and our civilization, without batting an eye. In fact, we do it in
the name of love. We are a bunch of hypocrites, really. Are we not?"
"Have you ever hoped," I asked her,
"that it was possible for you to have a man, or several men, as very
close friends that you might go out with once in a while to the movies, or
for a dinner, or for a chat and a dance, someone to share your innermost
thoughts with, even a smile with a kiss and a sexual embrace?"
"You must be dreaming," she said
and began to grin. "You obviously had similar dreams. This too, is
plain to see, but is the grass really greener on the opposite side of the
"That's an invalid question," I
interrupted her. "As a scientist studying love, you should have asked,
do we love one-another more as human beings by creating an institution that
radically prevents us from loving one-another on a wider scale? Does the
separation and isolation that we practice make us richer as a society, or
does it make us very much poorer? Do we even know how to love
unconditionally and universally? I would say that we don't. Yes, Erica, I
have been dreaming such dreams as you suggest. I would love to have a few
girl friends. I have far too few friends as it is, except on a superficial
basis. The only basis on which those dreams could ever be fulfilled, would
be on a basis of concealing, hiding, scheming, and plain lying to
one-another. I haven't succumbed to that yet, and never will, Erica. Still,
the tragedy cannot be ignored that we call this tragedy, which we have
created, civilized living. And it is a tragedy. The man that you spoke of,
who was desperate enough that he nearly raped you, was caught up in this
tragedy. But whose was the more honest reaction, his or yours?"
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from Chapter 4 of my novel: Discovering Love
online page 18 to 25 - transcript