Agape: In Search of Universal Love
from the novel, The Lodging for the Rose
Rolf. A. F. Witzsche
Story 8 - Shadow in the Night.
Story 8 - Shadow in the Night.
Ross and I left the balcony when the first gusts of the breeze came up that already pulled white-caps out on the open waters. Heather, Tony, and Sylvia were just finishing up in the kitchen. The dishes were done and put away as we came by. Ross said he would join them on the porch in a minute. He told them that he wanted me to come to his study first, so that he could show me the results of some of his research work.
While Ross had gone back to the kitchen to get us some drinks, I overheard Sylvia on the balcony speaking to Heather. The conversation was about me.
"...you don't need to apologize for what has happened," said Sylvia.
"I'm not. I had the most wonderful time I had in my entire life," Heather replied. "Something like that doesn't happen to one every day. But I can't tell you more than that."
"No, please, don't."
"You probably wouldn't understand what I mean," said Heather. "I can hardly understand it myself. You're married to him, but I love him. This was the first real love I ever knew. I think you will never know what it took that day to leave him, on his way back to you. Running off was the only thing I could do."
"Don't forget we are in love, too," said Sylvia.
"Of course you are, but that's not the way it was when I got married to Winston," said Heather. "What a slavery that was! For Winston, everything was allowed because of my marriage to him; everything cruel that is. Love was no longer a factor. I was a piece of inventory under his control. He said at one time, once you're married you don't need to be in love. I can tell that your marriage will never be like that. Pete would never dream of saying such a thing to you, or to anyone else. I could feel that he was in love with you, even then, both with you and with me. Winston, on the other hand, had four girl friends, and I'm sure he loved none of them. He said it was his right to have them. I can't imagine Pete ever saying a thing like that, not even about Ursula Fleischer. Nor did I feel cheated when Pete talked to me about you, or about her. It was nice to feel his love for you, and for Ursula, because I realized that he felt the same about me. I even have a hunch that he may have come to love you more, because of me. It's just a feeling. Something that was growing while we were together."
"Pete told me that loving you was the most natural thing," said Sylvia.
"It had something to do with what had happened to him in East Germany," Heather replied.
"Did he tell you about East Germany?" Sylvia asked.
Heather nodded. I could see her reflection in the glass of the hummingbird feeder.
"Tell me, did you feel cheated when he told you about what had happened in East Germany, though it happened only a few days before?" asked Sylvia.
"I've always felt cheated by Winston, never by Pete. It was exciting to hear Pete talk about it, to feel what he felt, to sense the satisfaction he found, the joy, the warmth. It was marvelous to listen to him the way he spoke about Steve and his wife. But then I wasn't married to him. Maybe you felt differently. Did the thought of it make you angry?"
"I can understand this," said Heather. "It's a natural reaction if you believe what we were taught. Winston certainly was big on demanding his territorial rights. I think it gave him a sense of security, owning me, not having to worry about my reactions as they were guaranteed to him by contractual loyalty. I think it gave him a sense of status and power. But he never knew the price this exacts from another. Maybe that's why there are so many divorces."
(c) Copyright 1998 -
Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, Canada