Discovering Love

a novel by Rolf A. F. Witzsche

Episode 1 of the series The Lodging for the Rose

Page 29

Chapter 4 - A Dream About Love.

Chapter 4 - A Dream About Love.

      "The past cannot be altered, but the future can be determined," said Erica. "This is the reason why I have taken up the research of love."

      "Really?" I asked. "Or was a part of the reason the potential it holds for wonderful things to happen? Maybe I should take up the study myself."

      "I would have recommended that you do, if you hadn't started that research already," she answered and laughed. "Once you have started, you cannot break away from it; and believe me, you really have started, possibly for that reason. I took up the study of love for a different reason. An incident happened some months ago, which literally forced me into it. It wasn't the kind of incident you might suspect. Peter, I came close to being raped."

      I shook my head in disbelief. It took a long time to absorb that shock. "I am terribly sorry," I said quietly when the shock wore off. "There shouldn't be men like that."

      Erica agreed. "But don't be sorry for me," she added. "I am not sorry that it happened. It was an eye-opener for me."

      She told me that she was on her way home, walking from the mathematics building to the streetcar-stop. It was late. It was dark. She said that she suddenly realized that there was someone behind her. She turned around. It was a man. She walked faster. So did he. She told me that as he was about to pass, he grabbed her and held her mouth shut from behind. He said he needed her and pushed her towards a doorway. Once inside the building he told her not to make a sound, then slowly pulled his hand away from her face. She said that he turned her around, towards him and held her tight. She said she felt like screaming, but was too scared. "Then, as if someone spoke to me," she added, "the idea came: Don't struggle. Don't resist. If he wants sex, give it to him. That way you won't get hurt. So, instead of waiting for him to force the issue I kissed the man quickly. It wasn't easy to do that. Still, I even allowed him to kiss me back. I was resigned to let it happen for as long as he needed it. But it only lasted for a few seconds, then the man exploded into his pants. Moments later he sighed and apologized."

      Erica said that he apologized profusely, saying again and again that he didn't know what had come over him. She said that he even asked her for a date at the end, in a very quiet tone of voice. She said she turned him down, of course. She told him that friendships couldn't be established by force, but by kindness and by enriching one-another's life. She told him that he looked like an intelligent person and that he therefore should be able to establish a proper relationship with someone. She said that she told him that he didn't need her. She paused and looked at me with a sad expression. "He replied to me, 'I know, I know, but I find all the doors closed. For people on the outside life is difficult, lonely, and often desperate. You don't know how lucky you married folks are to have someone to be with.'"

      Erica told me that she felt sorry afterwards, when she was in the streetcar, that she hadn't given the man a chance to have a date with her. She said, "emotionally, he was like a beggar who hadn't eaten for a month, who needed something, anything, even if it was just a kiss."

      "You felt compassion for the man who attacked you," I said quietly, "that's remarkable, Erica. Not many people are able to do that. So far I know only one such person who would do this, and that's you. That shows what a remarkable person you really are."

      "Thanks for the flattery, Peter," she said and smiled. "To me, that incident tells me what a rotten society we have become. What a world have we created in which such beggars are commonplace among such riches as we hold in ourselves? The man spoke of closed doors, Peter, and he said please, and I answered him with a harsh, no! Why couldn't I respond to his need and say yes?"

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Agape novels by Rolf A. F. Witzsche, free online books, 

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