Oh, if I only knew what the next step had to be! Had she implied that sex, this deep part of our identity, was a mistake of creation, and that the acknowledgment of this mistake of the Universe had to be avoided at all cost for the sake of civility? Or was the perceived barrier based on nothing more than a mythology that supported the convention of the world that had isolated humanity from one-another for centuries upon centuries and apparently mostly for imperial objectives. This meant that sex wasn't the real issue at all, but had simply been drawn into it as something powerful in the fabric of society that could be easily exploited or disabled for promoting slavery as the Pharaoh's had done? Maybe it was this intentionally built-up age-old mythology that kept her now spellbound with fear and impotence.
With all this in mind I felt that our association might yet be rescued, if it could be rescued from the grasp of this old mythology, and from the grasp of the resulting conventions and the built-up hypocrisies. We had shared so much in the short time that we have had that it seemed an act of utter folly to let those riches go, and to close the door between us over this one little thing that had remained unresolved. The precious hours we had together in the restaurant high up on the tower, seemed like a treasure now, a treasure among treasures, and so were all the other times we had been together, even those when we just met for ordinary occasions.
I remembered the sweetness with which she had rushed to the aid of an old woman that had difficulty getting her shopping bags onto the bus. Anton had left our group standing on the sidewalk in the middle of a tour, and ran across the street to give the old mamushka a hand. I rushed after her to help, but came to late. When she returned, her face shone more than ever. That's how we sometimes met in the most 'intimate' fashion. There was something about her that was intoxicatingly human in the dry desert that the world had become, something that was refreshingly rich that I simply couldn't afford to lose sight of, something precious that she wasn't even aware of herself, apparently. She was in love with her humanity, even while she resisted it at the same time. She had become a walking paradox the more this resistance came to light. The sexual dimension seemed to be tangled up with all that and it now became intertwined with the dimension of our loving that was new, and had tittle time to unfold.
I pondered. The thought came that if I pretended that the sex barrier did not exist, the denial might help to break her fear of it? Except, to pretend this, meant pretending that she isn't a woman. That sort of approach was obviously an unworkable plan, since it was evidently her lovely female nature, that in part made her so precious to me as a person. I realized that escaping from this reality wasn't the answer. Indeed, the refusal to escape from our problems had been the platform on which supersonic flight had become possible. Her uniqueness had to be acknowledged, even if this brought us to a barrier. The supersonic shock waves and vortices had all been acknowledged by the aeronautical engineers, for the unique phenomena that they were in the boundary zone of entering supersonic flight. The unique features and challenges of that leading-edge reality had to be acknowledged, and they were acknowledged, by which they weren't a barrier anymore, but merely an engineering challenge from this point on. The truth is the truth! I couldn't afford not to acknowledge this in my relationship with Anton.
As I pondered this complex idea, that became suddenly simple, I felt as though I should pick up the phone and say to Anton; when I appreciate you as a woman, instead of merely as a person, I am beginning to appreciate the truth of our humanity's infinite individuality, which is richly reflected in womanhood and manhood.
I felt daring all of a sudden. I felt this daring departure from the conventional perception may seem slight, but in real terms it is huge, it is monumental, enormous, it is the difference between hypocritically imagining barriers, in contrast with allowing unity to unfold. I put my hand on the phone, but as I did I also felt that she would immediately hang up the phone, and not understand a word of what I would have said. Then I might have called her again and explained the mystery with another mystery, why everything that is dear to us is reversed; why apparent unselfishness is true selfishness, and apparent selfishness is self-annihilation. But I also felt she would hang up this time, too, and not understand. Then I thought that I would dial her up a third time, and repeat to her, that uplifting one's neighbor, embracing the infinite individuality of our humanity, embraces the oneness of all being and the oneness of oneself that builds strength, raises health, assures liberty, and enriches the standard of living. But again I felt she would hang up this time, too, and not understand.
Of course I also realized that she would have to hang up the phone even if she would understand some of it. The entire system of her country was built on hierarchical separation. Her entire country was built on barriers, on marriage fragmentation that had bound her to a system of society that assures its collective decay, fragmenting her very soul by breaking apart what is precious in humanity.
Since I couldn't phone, I started to write the letter, finally. I knew that I had to say everything of what needed to be said, even if this meant not writing one word about it, but gently setting up a stage that she could step onto by her own inner resources. Oh, what an infinite task this appeared to be!
The letter was finished at 4 AM. Torn up pages littered the floor. It was a letter that had to be on her desk in the morning. I couldn't take the chance that she might not open her mail until after the conference ended, and we were gone. This was our second last day. Also I wanted to see her face when she opened it. In order to accomplish this I had to convince the hotel captain to unlock the meeting hall for me at four in the morning, which required a lot of tall explaining. Still, the captain kindly consented.
Anton glanced at me shyly as she opened the letter. She glanced at it for a moment and folded it up again quickly and left her place on the panel. There was no smile on her face visible, but a trace of agony. God, what had I done! She looked not towards me, but down to the ground. The thought came that I should have left this entire issue remain untouched. But it was too late now for second thoughts. The damage was done. Had I dug for myself a still deeper hole, and for her?
I watched for her return all through the morning. She never came back. Her place at the panel remained empty all day. She might have taken the letter to her room, I thought, and was thinking about it. But for how long? I waited in vain. Obviously I had hurt her even more now?
"I agree with you," I had written on one of the many pages. "Certainly, it takes time to build friendships. By all accounts this is true! Indeed, Rome wasn't built in a day, and maybe our loving can't be either. On the other hand, if we are truly in Love with ourselves as human beings, then a basis for loving already exist from which to link across what divides us - in other words, very little needs to be built."
I assured Anton in the letter that the remaining few links could be built effortlessly and with joy. "Why should we have failed in this so deeply that talking to one another has now become dificult?" I wrote. "I had recognized your deep self-loving of your humanity that I had fallen in Love with for the light that shines from it.
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