Love is its own reward.
Chapter 45: Suspicious Arrangements
Mullum-Mullum was not in the rose garden. Amira decided to walk up the back steps of the old house and look around the verandah. Some dusty boxes and a few bits of dirty furniture were haphazardly pushed into a corner where they had remained for years. She spotted a small bookshelf and pulled out several, yellowed books. Her eyes landed on a familiar green cover. It was The Little Book of Healing. On the inside of the cover was a sticker saying, This book belongs to Rose Este. The book had long since ceased publication. Amira had given her precious copy to Thomas, a few years ago. There was something quite peculiar about the little book. Amira didn’t know if other people had the same experience but whenever she opened it, she seemed to read pages that she had never seen before. As she had read the book many times and it wasn’t long, she eventually decided that the book changed its contents depending on what was needed. She put it in her pocket and went back to her and Gabriel’s apartment.
Gabriel was up by the time she returned. He had been out late the night before. Unfortunately, he was frequenting the Darnall nightclub again. That meant that he was back with the Boys of Darnall. His behaviour would have told Amira even if he hadn’t. He was disconnected. At least, he was disconnected from Amira. It wasn’t just his absences that were a problem. When he was home, he was out of sorts and would start up with all manner of complaints.
“It’s too hot in here,” he would say. “Why have you got the heat up so high? It’s too cold. You know I don’t like this [pointing to some food he happily ate a few weeks ago] etc.”
“The mentality of that group is not having a good effect on you,” said Amira deciding that enough was enough.
“I like the mentality,” said Gabriel. Amira turned away and rolled her eyes. “Just because you act like an old lady,” said Gabriel, “everybody else doesn’t have to.”
“I don’t know about ‘old’,” said Amira quietly, “but there are a few too many ‘ladies’ around, at the moment.”
“What did you say?” said Gabriel. “I can’t hear you.”
“I said,” said Amira turning to face him, “’What makes them any different to any hetero-male group that you find so stupid?’ The college jocks fixated on their female counterparts or the old guys at the pub swooning over some woman’s boobs? It’s the same ridiculous, superficial mentality. How can it possibly make anyone happy?” When it came to a rational argument, Gabriel had no hope against Amira. However, the thing about arguments is that they don’t have to be rational and, usually, they are not. They are all emotion.
“It’s my life,” said Gabriel ending the discussion. He won; if one could call such a thing a win. For good measure, he added on his way out, “If you think I’m so stupid, why are you even with me?”
Amira went back to the rose garden in the hope that Mullum-Mullum might be there now. He was.
“I feel sad,” said Amira.
“I know,” said Mullum-Mullum taking her hand. They walked around the garden slowly and silently.
“I’m tired of him hurting me,” said Amira. Mullum-Mullum pointed to one of his birds. They were, always, talking to him and telling him things.
“Do not assume,” said Mullum-Mullum, “that someone else’s ego can love you. It cannot. It does not even love the person it resides in. The limit of the ego’s ‘love’ is to decide that you are a temporary ally and thus it will protect you for the benefit of its own use. Only a soul can accept and return love. Everything else is manipulation. Fragile arrangements. They are, at best, suspicious and, at worst, vicious.”
That’s not really cheering me up, thought Amira. “I can’t share,” she said. “Share men, I mean.” Mullum-Mullum laughed. “It’s not that I’m possessive,” said Amira, “but if I don’t have the vast majority of the person’s heart then I am constantly working against other forces which pull the person in conflicting directions, usually, of a much lesser consciousness. The resulting tension is stressful for the person and it is a waste… of me.”
“The Spirit,” said Mullum-Mullum, “is as much a jealous lover as the ego. Each guard their path with an uncompromising passion but for very different reasons.”
Chapter 46: All Around Us
After work, Amira packed a small bag of clothes and left a note for Gabriel saying that she was going back to Waldmeer for a few days. It was dark by the time Amira drove up her familiar home hill. The winter lights were on. Waldmeer had a high tourist population during the warmer months. A hill which would be full of lights in summer would only be spotted with a few lights during the long, winter evenings. The locals knew who was home by those familiar lights of full-time residents. They would have known that Amira was home.
As Amira walked to the shops, the next morning, she saw Farkas and baby Lan-Lan in the park.
“I saw your lights on last night,” said Farkas. Amira didn’t feel much like talking so she let him talk. “Did you know that Magic Man is at Ide’s?” asked Farkas.
”No,” said Amira. “I suppose Ide is a Clinker. It will, probably, be good for her to have him there.”
”I think he’s interested in her,” said Farkas.
Amira thought about that for a moment. Farkas is instinctive about such things, she thought, and Ide is an old soul and Salt is a free spirit so it is a possibility. “People need many more things in life,” said Amira, “other than a same-age, same life-experience comfortable companion.”
“Not to state the obvious,” said Farkas, “but there is a thirty year age difference!”
Amira shrugged. She didn’t really care how many years age difference there was. Today, instead of her having a positive effect on Farkas, he was making her state of mind worse. I need to fix myself up, she thought.
“I’ll see you later,” she said. “Good-bye, little Lan-Lan.” She headed for the beach. With a thick coat, woollen hat, big scarf, and gloves, the bitter wind was a clearing agent rather than a cold, disagreeable enemy. She recalled this morning’s offering from The Little Book of Healing,
Love is its own reward. We do not have to worry about what other people think about us. We can never feel alone or isolated when we understand that it is impossible for love to leave our side. Love is all around us.
Amira kept walking. Love is all around us, she repeated silently. She started to feel better, stopped walking, and said, “I’m not going back.”