Ushi grinned, and nodded. "I was glad for you when you told me that. I thought that was wonderful."
"All of this was prompted by Nicolai's response to the principles he came to understand. It was Nicolai's response to what unfolded in Caracas," I replied.
"This would have been the most revolutionary step ever undertaken in Russia," said Ushi. "A triple wedding with a double polygamy, wow!" she said.
"I'm glad you approve?" I said with a smile.
"Pete, this would have been wonderful," she replied.
"Nicolai wanted a big wedding, Ushi."
She began to grin. "This wedding would have really shaken up the starched mentality of the Russian society, especially in his home town."
"It would have shaken up any society," I suggested, "but it would have also caused a lot of people to look at themselves. As you may know, same sex marriages are not uncommon anymore. Something has changed people's perception to the point that they begin to acknowledge that marriage is no longer primarily focused on procreation, but has become something more, reflecting a commitment of people to each other, a bond of a more fundamental union. There is no reason that I can see, in this context, why marriages between people must be limited to a certain sex or to only two individuals. A community of principle cannot be limited that way. The key element is the commitment of people to each other to enrich each other's existence. This is unity, based on the principle of love. It unfolds universally. Don't you agree?"
Ushi nodded thoughtfully. "This has been the foundation of our own love, too, hasn't it, right from the beginning?"
"Love forms the basis for any union based on a community of principle," I said to her.
She agreed. "Wherever there is no community of principle, there is no union established, whether one is 'properly' married or not."
"Nicolai believed," I said to her, "that ones commitment to enrich one another's existence is actually more meaningful on a larger platform. He understood that if there is a principle behind it, this principle must be universal, because any principle applies universally. Our triple marriage would have been an acknowledgement of the universality of this principle. That's how he saw it. He didn't see it becoming just another, although expanded, framework for just another set of limiting boundaries. His proposal wasn't that we isolate ourselves in this larger sphere, but that we create a monument against isolation."
"Ah, but Nicolai missed one important point," said Ushi. "He missed the most fundamental point of all, the one for which you and I should have been married a long time ago, and may yet be married."
I should have been surprised at her proposal, except I was searching for a way to make such a proposal myself. What astonished me more than her proposal was my reaction to it.
"Tell me, was this marriage idea already on the table when we met in Cozumel, those many years ago?" I heard myself say.
Actually, I was surprised at what I said. I had no idea where the thought came from. It simply appeared, and I felt a great joy when I saw her response to it.
She nodded again. "It might have worked already then," she said, "because then, all the essential elements had already been in place."
"What elements, Ushi?"
"No, Pete, you tell me. Tell me, how did you look at people after our first night in Leipzig. How did you look at other women? Did you not feel different towards other people? Did you not feel freer, freer to be honest with yourself? Did you not feel a greater flow of love? Did you not feel closer towards all other women in this manner?"
"Yes, I felt all of that, and in an ever expanding manner that I almost became ashamed of," I said. "I felt an intimate sense of oneness towards every woman I saw, even if we met just in passing. I enjoyed her look, her smile, if there was one. Something wonderful had happened that night with you, that had brought this about. Nor was it primarily a sexual feeling that developed out of this towards the other women that I met. What I felt was based on the idea that it was natural and OK to appreciate a women, whoever she might be, for her beautiful individuality, her character, her care in presenting herself, and for being a woman. It was a new kind of love, in a universal, non-possessive sense."
"And then, Pete?"
"Then, Heather crossed my path. The universality of what you and I had established between us became a powerful imperative in responding to Heather."
Ushi held out two fingers. "That's the second principle," she said. "In absolute terms, unity is universal. Is there a third?"
"The third principle is Steve's principle," I answered. "How can I ever forget Steve's so often repeated comment that we bring to one another the gift of our love, with which to enrich each other's existence?"
Ushi approved the answer. "Tell me," she said, "wasn't all this already established when we met in Cozumel? We were both responding to these principles. There was a community of principle. In fact, we were responding to them in much the same way as we do now. We responded to each other in full acknowledgement of these principles, even at the most intimate level. There was only one thing that we didn't do back then. We didn't acknowledge our commitment to each other as a lifelong, enduring commitment. Love invariably demands this when it becomes deeply rooted in what we honestly treasure about each other. Our first night in Cozumel should have been our wedding night. We should have recognized that. We should have been able to make the necessary acknowledgement. It should have been important to both of us that we do acknowledge the monumental commitment that had already been established at this point."
"Actually, Ushi, I had always felt that way, whenever I was with you, as though we had been married forever," I replied.
"I felt the same," she said. "And let me tell you, I was serious when I told you about the freedom I had been given to have a child with you? I would have carried your child if you had wanted me to, provided that this formal commitment to one another had been made to the nth degree. The problem was that you couldn't see at the time what a majestic bond of unity we had already established between us. You could feel something, but you didn't understand the principle behind it, and I understood it but vaguely. Steve understood this principle more fully. Do you remember that he even paid for the hotel of our wedding night that never came to be? The problem was, that neither us had been able to acknowledge openly that our commitment to each other had already been fully complete. You were too worried about the past, about Sylvia. That's why you couldn't reach ahead to fully embrace what we had already established and bring her the good news. This possibility didn't exist in your mind, then."
"She would have never accepted our marriage as anything valid," I replied.
"That is why you had failed to respond, because of the limiting axioms that had not been dealt with. Maybe that, too, was one of the reasons why a formal acknowledgement had not been possible at that time. But, Pete, I think it is appropriate now, don't you agree?"
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