Teaser 233: Love And Honor Transcend All Worlds


With everything from the wagon moved inside Hama's new home and Alfred and Hama agreeing on plans to move what remained in the village early the following morning, I advised everyone I wanted to see all the progress each had completed to date, but it will have to wait until after the deluge of the government types is over. They are coming here rapidly, I assured all, and will probably arrive soon and I will be under constant inquiry for days, I imagined, so bear with me.

Before the deluge began I had a phone call to make and I used the living facility office while my cell phone charged. I didn't have to look up her number because Kitana had it programmed on the office phone, so I punched in the combination and listened to it ring three times. “It's early for you to call me, Kitana,” Esperanza advised. “Can it wait?”

“Representatives from Mali and the U.S. are on their way to talk to me endlessly, so, no, Esperanza, it cannot wait.”

“Gregory! O God!” Esperanza screamed through the phone. “O God! O God! O God! You are alive! Where have you been?!”

“In a place of honor and love, guided by my Master.”

“What are you talking about?! I thought you were dead! I have been devastated, Gregory, devastated! I told you I would be! What are you talking about?! You owe me!”

“Calm down, my child, so you may hear and I may speak.”

“You're gone for months?! No one hears a word from you?! And you talk to me now like a child?!”

“Perhaps you do not want to listen. You wish to scream at me instead. We'll have a civil discussion later.”

“No! Gregory! Please!” Esperanza sounded desperate but her next uttering was much more calm. “I want to hear you. Please. I'm sorry. Talk to me, please.”

“That is much better, Professor...What you must know first is my name is Al-Barrak. Gregory Hess is no more. I killed him. He is dead now. You will address me as Al-Barrak.”

“O God, Gregory-”

“Al-Barrak. Same body, different Self, thus different label. Al-Barrak.”

“Al-Barrak,” Esperanza struggled to say it and struggled further to follow it. “Have you been brainwashed?”

“Cleansed from the useless rubbish I previously carried. In your state of understanding, Esperanza, you may consider it brainwashing, but I am unconcerned what you think it is. You are asleep. I have awakened.”

“They have brainwashed you.”

“In this garden of peace, this which you above most others helped guide to what it is now and will continue to help guide it to what it can become, all would be impossible without the honor and love which came with that guidance, guidance which you gave willingly. Did we not have this discussion, that it must come from you willingly?”

“Yes, but-”

“And you added, 'I still love you.' Did you not?”

“Yes.”

“Your love for me has transferred to your love for all. Your honor and love has grown, but you wish to focus on brainwashing? Do you not see, do you not hear, the futility of your argument, the waste of it?”

“What do you expect from me, Gregory?” Esperanza paused. “Al-Barrak? Please! It is very early in the morning, I haven't heard your voice in months, months thinking you are surely dead and I will never hear your voice again. What do you expect from me?”

“To love me as you have, even more. To honor me as you have, even more. Al-Barrak. This is the one with whom you will do so forever.”

Esperanza was quiet for many moments. “This is the way, what you talked about before you left?”

“The Way to the One, with the One...It is as though I do not exist, and, in truth, I do not exist, not in this world but in another world. I exist in that world and in this one. When I do exist in this world, I do so because I love you, my child, I honor you, my child. I want you to see me, to hear me, to have you sense me completely. To show you love and honor transcend all worlds.”

“It would be much easier for me if I could...if I could-”

“If you could have Gregory?”

“Yes.” I heard her emit a deep sigh. “My heart was racing when I heard your voice. I love you and I had lost you. You understand that, don't you?”

“You have not stopped loving me, even now. You love Al-Barrak, even now.”

Esperanza hesitated. “If you are Al-Barrak now, yes, I love Al-Barrak. You must know, though, I miss Gregory. You can't expect me to discard him.”

“Life can be viewed as a series of steps, of stages. When one with whom you are familiar succeeds to the next step, the next stage, do you start your love and honor all over again, from the beginning, like you would a stranger? You may consider me a stranger now, but your love and honor for the one who was still exists. You transfer your love and honor to the stranger and your love and honor are recognized as such from you. I know you. You know me. I have completed a step, a stage. Here, in me, is my Self, the same Self which you know, but I know my Self now, a subtle, yet thunderous, cataclysmic change. My Self knows you, Esperanza. My love, my honor, for you now has a purpose that I understand, that I cherish. This from my Self. You will grow to appreciate it. You are capable of appreciating it. It is inside you and has been all along.”

“I need to see you. I need to see...Al-Barrak. I need to touch...Al-Barrak.”

“In a matter of hours, word will reach everywhere the one previously known as Gregory Hess is not dead. He is alive, but I will have to spend some time disentangling all of the notion. In this confused state as the rest of the world ponders, take the time to arrange your tasks to those who can supervise them properly and come to this Garden of Peace. Tell them with my return your presence is required as things have changed dramatically, the success of the experiment requires your presence for a short while. The university's prestige is at stake. Who will argue?”

“Well, I like hearing that. You make it sound like what I remember, your deviousness.”

“Gregory Hess may be buried but he cannot be squelched completely. From him I have kept that which is worthy, of love and honor. He was not incapable of it.”

“Alright, I will. I must see you and touch you...Maybe Serena will come with me. She has been all but dead, Al-Barrak. She does not leave her house. They come down on her like a barrage constantly. She has had no life for months now.”

“Call and talk to her, Esperanza. Soften the path for her. With all coming at me right now, it is too much for her and I won't have the time I will need to help her understand. Start it for me, please.”

“I will.” Esperanza waited a moment. “I love you.”

“My love for you, my child, has grown and is anxious. Your presence will be soothing.”

I could hear the helicopters. Not much time now. I turned on my cell phone while it charged and looked up Magdalena's cell phone. I called it from the office phone. Lena answered the first ring. “Ya?”

“Lena, my beloved, I don't have much time, so listen. The government's coming. I can hear the helicopters. I am fine. I am aching to see you, to hear you, to touch you. When their questioning is through I will contact you. You are in my love. I wish only the opposite be true.”

“You know that it is, Gregory. I will wait for you.”


- Just Desserts, Segment Twenty-NineInextricably Bound” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021

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