Agape: In Search of Universal Love
from the novel, The Lodging for the Rose
Rolf. A. F. Witzsche

Story 12 - Shopping for Glass
page 71

Story 12 - Shopping for Glass

      Ushi wore a deep blue dress for our first evening in Venice, with a light blue ruffled collar that extended low around her neck, graced by a thin chain of gold. Heather was dressed in yellow that matched the charm of Venice, its brightness, that also reflected her own brightness as well. I simply wore a white shirt, black pants, the standard requirement for official business environments. Ross, on the other hand, looked like he just came from a Jamaica. Steve was the most elegantly dressed of the men. His dark blue silk shirt matched Ushi's dress perfectly. Sylvia was dressed in white, simple in style, but elegant in appearance.  Most of what we wore was purchased, courtesy of Uncle Sam. To buy these clothes seemed like robbing the bank, considering the economic crisis that was brewing up in the U.S.. Still, our costs represented but an infinitesimal fraction of what was spent each single day on defenses that might become unnecessary if we were to somehow succeed in our mission, and in what it was supposed to accomplish.
      After ordering dinner on our first night there, Heather unpacked the glass sculptures that she and I had bought earlier in a tiny arts store that was cramped to the ceiling with anything from die cast junk to marvelous art works of the finest glass. Heather had noticed one of the sculptures in the window, made by a Venetian master. It was nearly hidden by a porcelain bowl.
      Actually the store had three more of those sculptures, similar ones, all made of perfectly clear optical class shaped into smooth abstract forms. But their real attraction wasn't primarily in the form itself, but in the way in which the form worked to fracture the light. That's what fascinated me about them. To me, they represented our self-love becoming manifest in our love for each other in countless different ways. The more 'light' we put into our self-love, the more fascinating became the manifest sparkle by refraction. In this sense our trying to choose between the four sculptures in the shop became one of the loveliest experiences for me, of our entire visit to Venice. The experience of choosing between them was unfolding slowly and gradually, and was drawn inwards by the beauty of what we faced, that evidently reflected something of the artist's beautiful soul.
      The shop owner had taken us to a room in the back of the store where he had a box set up, draped in black velvet. He put the four sculptures down. Several spotlights shone on them from above.
      "One thousand Lire each, or two and a half thousand Lire for all of them together," he said.
      "First we must choose," said Heather.
      If it had been up to me the choice would have been easily made. There was something magical about every one of them. Actually, it was up to me, and I was inclined to buy them all. One of them reminded me of our day at the Sand Castle, the last day that Heather and I had shared. Looking at the sculpture, looking at Heather, I felt the same feeling again. God knows why. Maybe it was the way it sparkled. With the sculpture standing between us, we were facing one another with same glowing sense of excitement that had stayed fast in my memory. It was a deep reaching, gentle feeling, a mixture of peace, joy, and excitement. Our days had sparkled with an innocent brightness from within, that had made the most simple things appear special, like drinking ginger ale, or picking wild flowers. In part, the excitement of being with her in those days came from not knowing what fascinating wonders would next pop into view. It was the same again in Venice, it was all brought to light in the sculptures.
      Being in love with Heather was a force that made one infinitely more sensitive to the loveliness of this world, and this love had not ended, nor was it likely that it ever would. She was like a catalyst for its sunshine, and seeing her together with that sculpture added more magic to the moment. There was a blending of something that belonged together, which was also linked to myself, my own self-love, and beyond that, to Ushi, Steve, Sylvia, Ross, and Tony. Heater's flowing dark hair contrasted with the light. It blended with her radiant smile and the sparkle in her eyes. All were brought into focus by the magic of the crystal clear glass and its shape that transposed the fractured light into the larger frame in which we all existed as one undivided whole made up of stars and rays of light in which we find our individuality.

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 (c) Copyright 1998 - Rolf Witzsche
Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, Canada