Ushi remained standing beside me, silently, reverently. I knew I couldn't share my pain with her, my deeply drawn acknowledgment of guilt, at least for some time. I was too ashamed of myself, too deeply torn with self-accusations. I remembered William Palmerston's words from our meeting in Venice the day after I had announced the shutdown of the SDI. I realized that everything had unfolded as he had predicted. Had he already seen me in the role of that pathetic Hamlet that I became? I remembered his words with great pain. He had told me bluntly during that dark night, that there was nothing I could do to alter the outcome of the empire's will. I must have believed him deep in my heart in spite of my refusal to join his game. At least I could take comfort in the thought that I had done one thing right, by not joining him. But had I really done something right? By refusing to do the right thing, Hamlet had caused the death of his beloved's father, by his own hand. I had caused the death of my beloved herself, and the one we both loved. I should have died instead of them, but I remained to bear this pain. I also knew that there is no pain or grief, no matter how personally it now touched me, that lay beyond the redemption of love.
With this assurance of redemption came a ray of light. From under the burden of grief, like an answer to a prayer came a feeling that I had Anton's forgiveness, and Nicolai's, and would always have this for the rest of my life. It came in the form of a melody, a melody that I had associated with our brightest moments, moments when we had daringly challenged the validity of centuries of false ideals and traditions, when our little group at Caracas had boldly faced the world and had won against incredible odds. Anton was there. This meeting became a turning point towards a sequence of private events without which the death star satellite might have never been identified and been eliminated, so that a vastly greater death would have occurred that might have been designed to destroy half of humanity. The melody of our greatest joy in Caracas came to mind, the melody of the beautiful horn passage in Johannes Brahms' first symphony.
I stood up straight and erect now in front of the grave. I looked at the grave stone and at the redemption of love that it signified, and as I did so, more and more of Brahms' first symphony came to mind, almost all of it. The grand opening statement came to mind that reflected the joy I had felt when I first saw Antonovna at the airport in Moscow, and later, the beautiful smile she had for me when she allowed me to call her, Anton. I also remembered the music that I had associated with our struggles at that meeting in Moscow, and the conflicts and paradoxes that evolved around the letters we wrote to each other. The second movement reflected the great peace that flowed from her reply, a peace that had lasted through all the intervening twelve years of silence between us.
Everything that I remembered from this period was precious, and so had the music become to me that I had associated with it. Then came the lighthearted scherzo of our first days in Caracas together; the breakthroughs that followed, and the burst of joy that gave way to the great horn passage of our embrace. That beautiful, leisurely drawn-out melody described the inner, private domain in which our hearts fully met. This, too, I felt, I could never share with anyone. I knew I could have shared it with Nicolai who had become a part of this unity, through Antonovna. I also knew that our embrace, which the horn passage celebrated, would never end, which Nicolai had been enfolded into.
I suddenly remembered what the man in the airplane had once told me so long ago, who had spoken to me about unity: that there can be no parting from the all-embracing unity in which there is but one I or Us. Brahms' horn passage reflects this type of unity. The melody of this passage doesn't really end, instead it transforms itself into something ever more beautiful. Rather than ending, it becomes changed into that precious new melody that is reminiscent to Beethoven's setting of Schiller's "Ode to Joy." And even this melody doesn't really end either, but becomes changed into a melody for dancing. All of these, of course, become drawn together in the grand finale of the symphony, were all the melodies reappear with much greater power and firmness, unfolding a completeness that says: 'one cannot have more than this' which now also meant, 'one cannot have anything less.'
I knew that our private symphony, which Anton and I had shared, into which Nicolai, too, had entered, could never be fully shared with another, or be understood by another. Our symphony had been a commitment to enrich each other's life, and we had done this. In this, we had found great freedoms. We had realized that this freedom was based on a principle that, by its very nature is greater than any one of us. Here, also came the thought that if something is greater than oneself, it doesn't need to be shared, because, by its very nature it unfolds universally, again and again, in countless ways, on its own terms. Also another thought came to mind at the same moment, that by this renewed unfolding, the private love that Anton and I had for each other would become validated again and again and find infinite expression, and that those expressions would be even greater in scope than what we had been able to realize ourselves up to this point. The melody reminiscent to the "Ode to Joy" and the powerful melody for dancing that followed, were statements of life, statements of truth. Their unfolding to great power and majesty in the finale of Brahms' symphony, where they become interwoven again with the melody of the horns, were not ours alone to share, but represent the universal out-flowing of joy, peace, and power that pours forth from every embrace that is allowed to be. I realized that our commitment to enrich each other's existence would in fact have no meaning if it came to a halt at this gravesite. Its principle would be invalidated if this happened. I realized that it should be honored for evermore in life. It should honored, because in its unfolding are found the great riches that we had brought into each other's life.
I began to realize all this as I faced Anton's and Nicolai's grave and was forced to deal with the paradox of their separation from me by death. The paradox was that this separation could never really occur in truth. With that realization, I felt as if a great light was lit at the deepest recesses of my Soul. I knew that I had to honor this principle, the unfolding of which had been our greatest gift to each other, which had been the foundation of all the freedoms and the treasures we had found in each other. I knew, that by the commitment to honor the substance of our love, that love would forever remain a part of my life.
With this bright and liberating realization my sense of Brahms' great symphony changed once again. It was no longer merely a musical accounting of the unfolding of our love, but a musical representation of the unfolding of all love, unfolding in trials and liberation into peace, joy, and power, unfolding to humanity all the great riches that lie in being alive. I realized, that I would always honor Antonovna in this context, from this day forward, because on that platform we are indeed, One.
As I stepped back from the grave site I understood with total clarity that my acknowledgment of her as that bright and lovely Morning Star would remain alive in me, who had been determined to brighten my Soul with the sparkle of a love that has no boundary itself, that she had shared freely.
Suddenly, I remembered Ushi again, standing patiently at my side. I read out their names out laud from the grave stone. I read them out loud as a tribute of respect. I read them slowly: "Nicolai Vasily and Antonovna Valentina Berendeyev Lisitov." I read their names just as they were engraved into the stone. It was only then that I noticed the three small letters CSB engraved beneath their names. I felt that Anton must have given these three letters a special place in her home, for Yuri to have put them on the grave stone together with their names.
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