Agape: In Search of Universal Love
from the novel, The Lodging for the Rose
Rolf. A. F. Witzsche
Story 4 - Self-Love.
Story 4 - Self-Love.
The audience was distinctly international. Every nation was represented, some in traditional costumes, some in exquisitely designed clothes. The woman sitting next to me, according to her name tag, was from Sweden. She wore a long black evening gown and a black vest graced by a simple silver chain. I was captivated by her simple, beautiful appearance, but also by something else about her. Her gown was more designed for easy walking and dancing than for sitting in tightly spaced theatre seats. Whenever she crossed her legs the fabric would part and reveal her beautifully shaped legs that were more attractive to look at than the finest silk dress. She didn't seem to notice. Or she pretended not to notice my interest, and made this an element of sharing her humanity that I couldn't help but respond to. It created a feeling of closeness, of excitement, of peace, a peace that was also reflected in the music of Mozart's piano sonata that was performed from the vast volume of Mozart's compositions. Perhaps the piano piece had been chosen for its simple, soft melody where nothing is forced and overpowering, abstract, or remote. The melody reflected the peace of the satisfaction that I felt. It wasn't underscored by a longing, but by a sense of peace. This peace was carried by the sufficiency of the moment that seemed complete in itself.
This feeling of sufficiency, and the peace that flowed from it, lingered. During the intermission I found it reflected as a feeling of gratitude for just being there among so many beautiful people, some with beautiful smiles and gentle and proud gestures.
When the concert finally ended, the Swedish woman, who was still sitting next to me, stood up and turned away to leave. Except, as she did, she turned back to me momentarily with a great big smile, which I promptly returned.
For this brief moment there was a link established that might have said more than all of Steve's words. She didn't growl with an angry look, nor was it a look of indifference that reflected a mere accommodation of my evident needs. Her smile was bright like a note of thanks, of saying thank you for noticing me, for acknowledging that I exist, that I am a beautiful human being worthy to be loved and admired. I didn't realize at that moment that her smile reflected something far greater than I had ever understood.
For the moment I treasured that smile, and the gentle expression that accompanied it, the brightness of their moment. All that stood in contrast to the many angry expressions that I had also seen in many other faces.
Some time later, outside of the auditorium, I saw her again. She stood alone in front of a fountain. Its spray sparkled in the sunshine. I walked towards her, almost as by instinct, against my will, against my fear, against my timidity fighting for dominance. Who was I to approach such a beautiful person? "Don't do it!" said a voice within.
I must have smiled at myself when I actually succeeded. "Would you kindly allow me to invite you for a cup of coffee?" I said to her, almost trembling as if facing a firing squad, ready to be shot down.
"You are most perfectly welcome to do that," she answered, and curtsied slightly to make her reply match the style of my silly way of asking. Then she laughed. "The coffee shop's on the second floor. Shall we take the stairs?" she asked.
I felt stupid to be speechless. Still I managed to ask somehow, to be forgiven for my brashness in asking her, but I added that someone as lovely and beautiful, and as kind as she was, must also be a beautiful person that I really wanted to meet, though I almost didn't have the nerve to ask.
(c) Copyright 1998 -
Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, Canada