Teaser 332: Initial Impact Upon Returning to Serena’s Spread

Privately, at Serena's house with more than a hundred of my closest friends and supporters, since so many were in attendance at the speaking engagement, I explained my condition. When I concluded all the many remarks were of the same vein. I need to see a doctor. Most knew I hadn't seen a doctor for some symptom or examination since we began shooting The True Cross. I had visited a large number of doctors for inoculations, shots and the like as required for entry into the many countries I had meandered, so it was about time, the vociferous demanded.

“I will see a doctor soon,” I calmly responded and the arguments began anew. Now I shouted. “Quiet, please! You are giving me a headache!” Instantly, believe it or not, the Great Room in Serena's spread became so silent when anyone made a sound they instantly begged, “Sorry.” I waited some moments, surveying the crowd around me as I sat in a chair in the corner of the Great Room opposite the entrance to the indoor pool. “Will all of you please sit down and relax so I may speak to you in a calm manner and you can hear me, and, yes, we don't have enough seats for everyone, so those without, please sit on the floor and stretch out in whatever manner is most comfortable, but most importantly, stop panicking and just listen?” My exasperation was obvious but in moments thirty some people were stretched out across the floor, all could see me, and I noted mischievously to myself that all thirty some were extremely wealthy, successful, well-known people of large influence. Was I in their league? I already knew the answer and they did, too.

“I will make an appointment to see a doctor about this in a few days. My symptoms are not life threatening in that I must see one immediately. I have experienced them and endured them for years and a few days will be of no import. What is of more import is to deal with the reactions from our engagement at the university tonight, the progress we can achieve in securing Chodak's refugee status and securing the emigration of his family and his friend's family out of Tibet, and screening Terms of Surrender, since many of you are already intending to appear there. I can survive it all. I may be an old man and maybe my body is reminding me of my age but I'm not leaving just yet so stop acting like I am ready to leave!” At least the last part produced some relieved chuckles.

“I want to thank you all for still believing in me, especially now, because it's so much easier to believe in someone when they never display a vulnerability, a weakness. In my history with all of you, there's one thing you could all take to heart. I would stand up to each and every one of you without hesitation when I was convinced I was right! Disagree?” More chuckles. “What is flashing through all of your minds now is that I'm not invincible and I'm certainly not perfect. I've been trying to convince you I'm not perfect for years and, as I glance around the room now, I'm beginning to see this truth dawning on some of you. I imagine the delay may be due to your imagination of what it would be like, exactly, to sit in a rubble-strewn street and face innumerable loaded rifles from soldiers trained to shoot first and ask questions later,” and I paused to let the chuckles diminish, “among other actions I've taken. When I sat in the street in Gaza I truly did not care whether I lived or died and honestly tonight, I still don't care. This may trouble you, but only because you don't know what I know now. The next few months, even years, are going to be very trying for many scattered all over this world, and the suffering of some will increase to a heart-breaking degree. Because this suffering is due to actions of our own collective making will become exceedingly obvious and since I know this is exactly what will occur makes it imperative I remain steadfast, strong and unshakable. Let me assure you I will. What I will advise over the next few months, perhaps years, to those who will listen to me will dishearten some of you. I will be incapable of changing it and some of you will exit my life completely. I tell you this because as disheartening as it will be to hear me say what I must say, you all will still understand I said it because I was compelled to say it and I warned you beforehand. This will allow you, even though you have severed our relationship, to do what you are compelled to do. Believe it or not, I have taken this into account, when I know in the months and years to come of conflict which will soon begin in earnest, we all will still need the peacemakers, and that's why you will leave me, to remain a peacemaker, while you consider me one who fans the flames. This is how it should be, that only our descendants will be able to figure it out if anyone can. When you're in the middle of it you barely have time to react. Contemplation comes later, sometimes much later.”

As comments and remarks came from everywhere in the Great Room, I raised my arms and waved them until it became quiet again. “Let me, let us, work on the immediate issues, responding to the reactions of the engagement tonight, securing Chodak's refugee status, pushing the Chinese to allow Chodak's family and his friend's family to exit Tibet, and getting Terms of Surrender in theaters all over the world. I'll see a doctor, probably more than one, but let's work on those issues first.”

Immediately there arose some discussion among various people and I let it go for a minute or so, ignoring questions to me. I focused on Serena, but I also had in mind a need to focus on Tanya, too. “We haven't had our first anniversary yet, have we, my beloved?” Serena smiled and laughter was everywhere. “Not one year since I married the woman of my dreams.” While more laughter ensued I engaged Tanya. “And I have to complete this entire calendar year before I can even hope to celebrate an anniversary with you!” While the laughter arose, I focused on Jinpa, sitting seemingly far away. She had been reluctant to step in from the moment I fell to one knee back stage, but I knew her entire being was torn, that she wanted to be so close to me but there were so many others. I rose from my chair and walked the many steps where she sat, on the floor, not even in a chair. I grasped her hands as she lifted them to me quickly and I pulled her to her feet. Jimpa buried her head against my shoulder and I said softly, “I don't even need to say anything to you, my beloved. Words mean nothing to you, to me. Our actions soar above all else.” I guided her back and sat again in the chair but with Jinpa sitting on the floor before my spread legs against the chair.

- Just Desserts, Segment Forty-TwoFata Tempor” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021

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