Agape: In Search of Universal Love
from the novel, The Lodging for the Rose
Rolf. A. F. Witzsche
Story 7 - Unity.
Story 7 - Unity.
Oh, it is true what people say, that it never rains, but pours, when one is not prepared for rain. Fred had arrived on our door steps that noon, holding in his hand those urgent orders that sent me to Germany to contact Steve, to urge him to query his contacts in Russia about the Russians' reaction to the unfolding financial crisis in the West. The urgency of this order made my fears even more real to Sylvia, which added to the tragedy of her own situation. She had to deal with the possibility that the financial system might break down while I was out of the country and she was struggling alone in the hospital undergoing major surgery.
"It is vital for us to know whether the Soviet Government is inclined to hit us when the chips are down," Fred drove the point home. He handed me the envelope. It contained two civilian airline tickets for a Lufthansa flight leaving 7:00 A.M. the next morning. I showed them to Sylvia without comment.
Sylvia started to cry, quietly, bitterly. "This can't be happening," she uttered between a stream of tears. "I'm undergoing the biggest medical procedure in my entire life, tomorrow. I need you with me by my side. You can't go away, not tomorrow."
I handed the envelope back to Fred. "You heard the verdict," I said. I explained to him the seriousness of the situation and the reason why it was serious. "Send somebody else, please!"
Fred sat down beside Sylvia and shook his head. "I wish I could," he said, "but there is nobody else in the whole wide world who can do this mission. Pete knows the people, they trust him. I wish I had a dozen people like Pete who can take on these kinds of missions. But I only have one. We have to struggle through this together. I can't stop the world. I wish I could."
"I have urgent needs, too," Sylvia replied, "can't you understand this? This is a big medical procedure that will put me under the knife for four hours. I'm scared, Fred, of what might happen, and now you want to take Pete away from me, too, and for what? Can't this be done by phone?"
Fred shook his head. He began to cry, too. He understood both sides, and I understood his, but all this apparent understanding didn't prevent all three of us from crying. We all knew this couldn't be handled by phone.
"The President's advisors have already urged the President to launch a preemptive nuclear strike," said Fred when the tears had subsided. "They are determined to prevent the Soviets from taking advantage of the financial disintegration in the West. It took all the diplomacy we could muster to persuade the President to hold back until the results are in from this mission. In this war of nerves a single day is critical."
Fred turned to Sylvia, "We've got no options left, Pete has to go. If Pete won't go, I don't know what will happen. He has to be on the first commercial flight tomorrow morning. He can't go by special transport, that would tip them off, which might put Pete in danger."
After a while Sylvia stopped crying. We both packed our bags. Fred stayed around and organized something for dinner, to give us time for one last walk together before the sun set for the day.
The next morning's parting was indeed a sad occasion. She was half asleep still, when my time came to leave. We kissed and wished each other well with a gentle touch and a smile. I knew, by the time I would be in the air, her operation would begin. She soon fell asleep again. She didn't have to get up for another half an hour.
The weather was clear that day. Luckily, my window seat was on the side of the aircraft from which I could see the hospital where her greatest trial was about to begin, probably at the same time that we flew by. A friend had volunteered to bring Sylvia to the hospital instead of me doing that. It was a wonderful gesture of her to do this for Sylvia and me. Still, I should have been there with with her, instead of flying away. I felt like a traitor. I was leaving her alone in the most critical hour of her life. I had tears in my eyes when I could no longer see the hospital, and more so when the whole area receded into the background behind us. I pressed my face tight against the window to look as far back as I could, but soon, there was nothing left in view, of the city. Finally, all that I could do, was to lean back into my seat and close my eyes to be with her, at least in spirit I could be there. I knew that the growing distance was not an obstacle to thought. In thought we could still touch each other. I remembered her smile and kiss of the morning's fare well. "Oh God, take care of her," I prayed.
(c) Copyright 1998 -
Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, Canada