"This means that we are facing an amazing challenge to make this work," I interjected. "It won't be easy to do this, even if thereby all of our respective needs can be met. My hunch was right then that your living with Ross has been somewhat 'empty,' sexually speaking."
"Society's sexual needs are rarely ever fulfilled in our love-starved world, Peter, and less so in my living with Ross, but I won't walk away from Ross for that. He is an amazing man in all other respects. Steve thinks highly of him. He thinks, however, that Ross would probably be happier in a larger type of bond. For this, of course, there exists no precedent yet in the social domain, even though the Universe itself wouldn't exist without its larger bonds. Steve suggests that for this reason a pioneering effort is once again called for. He suggests that the result could be amazingly exciting and richly fulfilling for all concerned, if such a pioneering venture can be made to work."
"But would Ross be interested?" I said.
"This is something that has to grow out of the heart and soul of all of us," said Heather. "I am more concerned, therefore, about you and Sylvia and Tony. How would any of you become affected in building this kind of wider and more natural platform? Steve warns that it is always scary if a whole New World opens up before one."
"I don't know how to answer this," I said quietly. "We know far too little about the potential New World yet."
"Yes, but we are also fast learners," said Heather.
Now, this was something that I could agree with.
Ross unpacked the glass sculpture that Heather had chosen. He unpacked it right at the restaurant before dinner where our celebration of life in Venice was continuing. With the sculptures on our table, a new sparkle was added to the sparkle of the lanterns that graced the nearby ships in the lagoon. Ross showed the sculpture to Heather, then embraced her for a long time. There was a similar grand unpacking underway everywhere at our table, a sculpture for Ushi and Steve, one for Sylvia, and one for Tony. It had seemed simpler for me to buy all four of them.
Heather glanced at me now and then as she admired her choice in its new setting, while I admired the special sparkle that I had noticed in her eyes again that I had cherished from the day on when we first met, which had not dimmed. It conveyed now a promise that nothing would ever stand between us again except the fire of love that takes away the darkness of distance. My thoughts for us being together had never been empty and my feelings never shallow, except now, they seemed to have become deeper still. They had roots that were nourished by an overflowing loveliness, a delight rooted in our soul and in its living.
For me, the world was forever transformed by the riches of her touch, and was transformed anew whenever our hearts met or a new love entered the scene and enriched all loving universally. Each glance brought its own renewal of that love and all love. That's what made her so precious, and others likewise because of her, and me so rich for being touched by that uplifting love, though I knew that its essence was anchored in my own heart that I found but reflected in her world.
For a moment I wondered if this deeply drawn feeling of love was nothing more than an inward reflection of the romantic atmosphere of Venice that now by some magic had brought the sparkling moments of our love to the surface. Or maybe it was the gnawing thought that time was running out for us all, which had produced this effect, the feeling that everything that was beautifully human in the world might soon become lost. Maybe it was all but a reflection of our growing openness that allowed us to experience whatever had been blocked before.
Well, whatever the reason might have been, the end result was, that we enveloped one-another in love with an intensity that made no sense in a conventional way, and had no limits that I could see.
"Did you ever see a young man running," I asked Sylvia, "did you see him jumping through the park, handing a flower to an old lady. That boy is in love." I looked at her sculpture, at her, at Ushi, Steve, Tony, and Ross; the feeling I felt unfolding between us all included every one in the same way.
"Why is this day so wonderful?" I asked some time later. "Is it this place? Is it our mission? Is it the freedom we have between us? Or is it the hope we all share and work for?"
Steve answered and smiled, "We bring to each other the gift of love. Here the magic begins. People who love have a beautiful Soul. That alone makes them beautiful. Ones expression and ones spirit always matches the essence of the Soul that is our humanity. That is why we are surrounded by such beauty, because we embrace the essence of it as human beings."
Steve paused and looked around the table, at each one present and continued the explanation, turning to me. "It is the light of a beautiful soul that you find so exciting, and so you should, because it is beautiful. So, don't be surprised, Pete, by what you feel. What you feel is natural. Be careful, however, if what you feel appears to be too good to be true, because then you are rejecting its reality. What you feel can appear exceptional only in comparison to the background of the poverty that we have for so long endured. Love and beauty are not exceptional elements on the platform of reality that we have begun to explore. On the real platform life IS beautiful. On this platform there is no other state possible. Poverty and greed, even hate, are not found on this platform. They do not exist there."
Steve had made quite a speech in response to my question. Afterwards he proposed a toast to the truth that we had discovered about ourselves, about our love, and our world.
Tony also made a speech. In his speech he reminded me of the crabs we had seen on the beach near the SandCastle, which knew nothing about nuclear war and the failures in human relationships. He reminded me that I had told him how infinitely richer I felt than those crabs. He reminded me that I had felt richer than the crabs in spite of the pain that all the world's horrendous problems have caused us, which the crabs knew nothing about. He reminded me that I felt richer than they did, for no other reason than for the privilege of being aware of this world, a world filled with people like Heather. Tony then extended this notion to include Sylvia, Ushi, Steve, and Ross.
I nodded, saying, "this is infinitely better than any old heaven could ever be."
"Oh, cut it," said Ross, "that's an ancient one."
"But it presents a valid idea," Steve came to the rescue, smiling.
We talked for some time after supper, way past the hour at which the sunset had faded. The air was still comfortably warm. Our day together had been beautiful right from the start. Or should I say, we were beautiful? We had smiled at each other, supported one-another, loved one-another, and this still continued. Ushi's faintly red-brown hair shimmered in the light of one of the many lanterns that lined the edge of the pier. Some strands of her hair were blowing into her face now and then by the warm gentle breeze. In the background, the water was ablaze with color; a profusion of reflected beams of light from a multitude of strings of colored lamps that graced the marina across the bay. Sylvia's smile blended with this profusion of lights. It shone with a light of its own that was brighter by its own right and more brilliant to me than all the other lights put together that we could see, and more brilliant even than the stars in the firmament.
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