Anton fell silent for a moment, evidently searching for something that didn't come easily. "Nicolai is grateful that you exist," she said quietly, "and so am I. Without our close relationship I would never allow myself to join hands with him. I would be in danger. Nicolai is a powerful man. But now that I am certain that our door will remain open, I will gladly embrace him and 'marry' him in a great celebration, as he wants, since we are married already, inextricably. I respect him for his assurance that I won't be stuck behind any closed doors. In fact, my being here with you would not have been possible without this commitment. So, my friend, you are not a traitor. You are a part of the family, as much as I am."
"Nicolai may be a rare genius," I replied, "but is he one of those even more rare individuals who can live up to such a promise, without pulling back?"
"He is," she nodded in acknowledgement. "He understands the universal principle involved, which is greater than any of us. He is beginning to understand what moves the universe."
"Still Anton, many a man has changed once the bond was forged," I said quietly.
She shook her head, "Nicolai won't be one of them. That door is closed, because the principle involved has become extremely important to him. He told me when I came back from Caracas, that unless this same principle becomes established in the larger sphere of the world, there will never be another bond possible on the scale of the Soviet Union. He also understands, that without this bond, no development will take place throughout much of the Eurasian continent, and without this development the continent will collapse into a new Dark Age. People will die. He also predicts that the great nations that still exist at the present time, will allow themselves to be broken apart, unless they recognize that principle universally, which they know exists, and recognize it more universally. There is nothing that can hold them together without a deep-seated acknowledgement of this universal principle. Nicolai is fully aware of that, Pete. He is deeply ashamed, in fact, that the Soviet Union had not forged that gentle, cooperative bond while it had a chance to do this, focused on a widely based universal support of individual development throughout the union akin to the general welfare principle that your country has been founded on. Instead, the Soviet Union had been held together by an iron curtain and an iron fist, even an ironclad and heavily defended boundary. The Soviet Union became a bond forged in iron and enforced all too often by often-brutal domination. The Soviet Union became a trap that the republics could not escape from, nor could continue to live in. People won't tolerate this again. The age of the shotgun marriages is over. Nicolai knows that the only platform on which a collection of tribes, ethnic groups, and even entire republics can unite, is that of an honest commitment to enrich one another's existence. That's the only natural platform that unites people. And that, one can't force. It has to enforce itself in a community of principle. Remember, Steve had asked you and Ushi if you wanted to stay overnight that evening, back in Leipzig, sharing the bed together? Remember, he had asked you both a simple question. Nothing had been coerced. Nothing had been forced. And even when you couldn't accept at first what you had wanted most, he gently helped you to overcome your barrier against what you really wanted. Nicolai told me that this should have been the operational model for building and maintaining the Soviet Union."
"Heh, how did Nicolai know about that?" I asked and grinned.
She nodded and smiled. "By talking to Steve, obviously, but this isn't important, Pete. The important thing is, that this can work as a universal platform. Nicolai understands that this must work."
Anton told me later, after we had a few bites to eat, that Nicolai is fully aware that large-scale economic development is no longer an option for humanity. It's a must! It has become indispensable for its existence. He also knows that this can't happen without an exhaustive effort to develop the same kind of bond on the individual level. He said to me that this has become a vital necessity on the global scale. "We can't have the one without the other. That's what he said. This means that he is absolutely committed to the principle involved, and to yield to its imperative in every possible respect, sexual and otherwise."
Anton told me that those were his very words.
"But does this mean that Nicolai is committed to establishing the principle in his own life?" I asked.
"Yes, Pete. That's what he meant when he said we can't have the one without the other," she grinned. "He said that the development of unity has to start at the grass roots level where we live. He said that we have to start building our lives on this principle at the home gate before we can uplift the whole world up to it. That's what he told me. He knows that the overturning has to start there, long before we can even hope to utilize the newly discovered principle as a higher platform for international unity. I know that Nicolai is fully committed to this. You know yourself that Nicolai never implements anything superficially. He is committed to what he believes in, and this passionately. This means that he is also prepared to follow the social dimension of the principle of universal love to its logical conclusion. The question is, are you so prepared?"
I said that I was.
She smiled. "Are you sure?" she asked. Her smile became a grin.
"Yes," I said. I was sure I could match whatever Nicolai would do.
"Remember, Nicolai invited you here," she replied, "and send us off together. Just look at your invitation card. He made a commitment, and this commitment is beautifully presented there. He made a fully conscious commitment to bring us here together, formally, and he has put it down in his own handwriting. He even signed it in a formal manner."
I was ashamed all of a sudden, because I had left the card carelessly in my pocket where it got wrinkled. When I brought it out and looked at it, it came to light as a precious document that should have been framed.
"Look at the face of it again," Anton said, "you will find both of our names there, Nicolai Vasily and Antonovna Valentina Berendeyev Lisitov. It's all finely printed."
Indeed, so it was. Everything was there, printed in fancy letters like a landscape across the card.
"And what does it say inside?" she asked.
"We warmly invite you to join us!" I read. Nicolai wrote the card in his own handwriting. It was an invitation for you to join.
"Join what?" I asked. "Join for a celebration?"
Way down the page the invitation say something about dinner, and this in a much smaller writing. "Please meet us for dinner at 5PM at the restaurant of the TV tower," it said. I continued to read, "with my best regards, Nicolai."
"Did you notice that the invitation and the request to meet for dinner has been separated? Note the gap in between. The style of the writing is different. These are two separate issues. Can you see that?" she asked.
She said, she hadn't noticed the separation herself until Nicolai had pointed it out. "The point is, he invited you with the full understanding that the invitation would involve our being together as intimately as we were in Caracas. As a matter of fact, he invited you because of it, as if he was saying that his love would not close any doors, but open them wider. There is a wider sphere unfolding from this promise than you can imagine, Peter, and this not because that's the kind of man Nicolai is, but because Nicolai understands what is demanded by the principle that is involved. There will be a marriage celebration forthcoming out of this. The celebration will be between Nicolai and me, and it will most certainly include you too, should you wish to be included. That certainly would be my wish, and it would be the right thing to do. You said yourself that good is the outcome of divine Principle, a universal principle that can only be manifest universally, that cannot be divided, that must encompass all. Remember, you told me in Caracas that any attempt to isolate good, and to privatize it into a small sphere, is a slap into the face God. Nicolai understands this; I do too. But are you committed to live by what you understand to be true? We are committed. Are you? You are invited by both of us, me and Nicolai. You are invited to join us formally in celebrating the uniting bond that we can't escape even if would want to. As you said in Queensland, the universal marriage of humanity is something we've been subjected to from the moment of conception, because of our common humanity. It is a reality that we have to learn to run with. Nicolai suggests that we go one step further and celebrated it; that we celebrate it openly, profoundly, in a huge celebration that matches the profundity of the discovered principle."
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