Story 2a - In the Brilliance of a Night
He looked up and grinned. "Now listen to this," he said and read on.
"...to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. However!" Steve raised his hand at this point, "when any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience has shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
Steve closed the book and looked at me with his large brown eyes.
"The time has come, Peter, to allow yourself to be honest with your feelings, and with each other." He was looking at Ushi also, as he spoke. "There is honor in that, and security, because this honesty involves taking responsibility to cause no one any harm."
I said something to the effect that this night would be long remembered, even if it stopped right now.
Steve grinned and said that the best part hasn't even begun. "A principle is of no value unless it is translated into life to the fullest extent to which one dares to explore it. That's where its power unfolds and the peace and joy it holds for us all."
I felt tears coming into my eyes. A mere thank you wouldn't have made the grade, I knew that, and anything else would have seemed phony.
"There you have it," Steve said and grinned, "this is it!" Without adding another syllable he stood up and turned all the lights out, and went outside onto the balcony.
But what about sex, I thought as I sat in the dark; what about its magic, and what about AIDS? Gosh, the situation became more complicated with every step. Behind the tangle of a tangled up perception of marriage loomed the next deeper mythology, with possibly more beneath that. I began to question myself. To answer these questions seemed to be an infinite task, but to love, at the moment, was to honor. With this in mind I didn't even try to puzzle things out any further. "Honor is a manifest of respect," I heard a voice from within, "respect for everything that I am, that Ushi is and stands for, a respect for her autonomy. Out of that unfolds the gentle appreciation of an aspect of beauty in which we enrich one another."
What is love anyway? I asked myself. One can't produce it; one can only feel it. It takes hold of one when one opens oneself to life. I felt sad that people don't open themselves more fully to life. I felt a pity for them in their struggle with themselves as they endeavored to deny the force of their own existence. I knew all about this struggle. I had been a champion of the game. I began to grin now. All this was about to recede into the past and become history for me.
"Surely, I am dreaming all this," I said to Steve as he was getting his bed ready on the balcony.
"No, Pete, you're not dreaming," I heard Ushi reply. Her voice came thinly out of the bedroom.
"No, no, I'm sure, I must be dreaming this," I replied. "This shouldn't be possible! I should have been kicked out of the house the moment Steve noticed me falling in love with you."