The Truth of Love

This is the tale of a man, if I can call him so (for I do not know what he was), who came from the stars. This is the tale of his quest across the universe, spanning eons of immeasurable time and expanse of infinite space. It is the story of a visitor from the stars who came to Earth in search of his lost beloved. It is the story of how he came to meet with a man, your dear narrator, on this small and insignificant planet that is our home. And of how this first contact changed both their lives forever.

***

A few days ago I received a letter. I was pleasantly surprised as I don’t get letters often. I sat by the window and opened it. The sun was dancing through the curtains as the afternoon breeze sauntered in, carrying the scent of the last roses of summer. Written in exquisite penmanship, with the words swaying on the page, the letter was like holding one of those ancient manuscripts of a master calligrapher. And it was addressed to me by someone whom I did not know! Curious and fascinated in an identical measure, I ran my eyes down the page, almost holding my breath, my heart racing. I could hear the sound of its wild throbbing in the silence of the room.

My dear Zeph,

You must be very surprised to receive a letter from an unknown person, Yes, you do not know me at all. But I know you very well. In fact, I feel as though there is a part of me in you, and of you in me. That you and I are connected, like ripples on the ocean are connected together, through vast stretches of space and time. You are doubtless mystified by what I am telling you. But believe me, nothing is more mysterious than the truth in this universe.

I come from the remote galaxy of Amora. You, humans, have not yet discovered my home because of the immense distance which separates us. If you show me the map of the night sky, I will point to the constellation of Ursa Major, for therein lies my home. Yes, I am an alien in your language! I have come in search of someone very close to me.

I desire that we must meet once before I return to Amora. Please come to the garden of Breksta at dusk tomorrow. I dearly wish we should see each other before I leave your planet. You have nothing to fear from me for I love you more than myself!

Nu, the amiable seeker from Amora

When I finished reading, I was sweating from an unusual excitement that had pervaded me as I read the letter. It would be incredible enough to get an amicable letter from a stranger, let alone an alien. Something in the letter made me so high I was in the seventh heaven. I had no reason to fear nor suspect anything. I  believed the letter was telling the truth. I was certain the communication was from someone not of this Earth, that it was indeed from someone from a distant galaxy, that he had come with the best of intentions, that he was friendlier than even my best friend. There was no doubt in my mind about going to Breksta park to meet him.

That night I struggled to sleep in my feverish anticipation of the coming tryst. I dreamt I was holding stars in my hands as I floated along the milky way. My heart was full of radiant light and with every beat, it glowed and glimmered like a firefly in the darkness of space. And Nu, though I had never seen him, was swimming in a stream of cosmic dust that glittered like flames in the black void, and inexhaustible love and peace filled the great and unending emptiness around us.

Next morning, with inexplicable joy and lightness in my step, I stumbled through the hours waiting for the sun to go down. You must think me insane to have felt that way, but dear reader, if you had received the letter instead of me, then you would know. If you had held it in your hands, if you had read those words that I read, I am certain you would have been as intoxicated as I was.

At dusk, I was in the garden of Breksta, looking forward to the meeting with gusto. The park was empty, except for the tall conifers and its bird inhabitants who were basking under the luminous daze of the rising moon.

As the moon climbed the sky, Nu made his entrance. I have never seen a creature from space before and did not know what to expect, but I had never expected him to be like us. Nu almost looked like a human being, but he was also different. A colossus, he towered above me in splendid stateliness. His body emanated a delicate shine, like the whitest gleam of the full moon, that instantly soothed the eyes. He introduced himself straightway as I regarded him with awe.

“I am Nu from the galaxy of Amora. I beg your forgiveness for causing you trouble this beautiful night. I must say a sea of joy surges in my heart to have finally met you.” His voice was like the serene song of the doves, washing over me like a loving caress.

“I am overjoyed to meet a traveler from other worlds,” I said, my voice quivering with excitement.

“Thank you, my dear Zeph. You must have many questions. You must be eager to know why I am here, why I desire to meet you. My tale is a sad one, but somehow I feel it will have a happy ending.”

He sat down on the grass and motioned me to join him. Then he continued as I listened in rapt attention.

“You see, like all noble quests, my quest is also the quest of Love. Through all the centuries and millennia of seeking, I have come to know, at last, the Truth of Love. My quest ends here with you. Hence, I return home after this meeting.”

“Centuries and millennia?” I asked, my eyebrows raised in astonishment.

“Yes. Unlike you humans, we Amorans have conquered death. We can virtually live forever unless an unfortunate accident destroys us. That is what happened to my beloved, the woman to whom I had given my heart and soul. She became victim to the vagaries of space and time. She was lost to me for all eternity. In the beginning, the sorrow of her passing made me undertake countless rash actions. I had a death wish for I could not imagine spending the endless future without her. By and by, the will which is stronger than the world, asserted itself. I immersed myself in the goal of conquering almighty creation. I dared to gain knowledge that would bring her back again from the abyss of nothingness. The knowledge itself was easy to attain. I toiled for a few thousand centuries and acquired the ability. In theory that is. The practice itself was another matter. For it was an utterly gargantuan task.”

“Your tale is assuredly out of this world!” That was all I could say.

He proceeded with his story. “I discovered that if I could gather all the atoms of her being before the moment she was destroyed, I could recreate her. Bring her back to life exactly as she was. All I needed to do was find the atoms, and I would breathe life into them again.”

I listened, my mouth half-open, transfixed by his remarkable tale.

“As I found out, this was no trivial task. My beloved had perished when she was caught amidst an enormous explosion of stars while passing through the distant nebula of Cyton. That was many millennia ago. The atoms of my beloved would have been scattered throughout the heavens as her end came in the star-forming regions of the cosmos. To find them all in this infinite universe would indeed be a herculean task as I was to find out soon. But my love, for her, traversed the entire stretch of the ether and embraced both the past and the future. I persevered in my endeavor and was, at last, able to locate all the atoms. Now all I need is to bring them together and kindle the spark of life. She will be once more, and us together forevermore.”

Nu paused. The night was cold. I trembled, both from the cold and the tale of Nu.

“What hinders you from the final action?” I asked, curious to know the answer.

“I had hardly anticipated this. You see, one of her atoms is in you. Some in other creatures I have met in my journey. The rest are spread as matter in the void of space, and I have gathered them all here. In this box.” He pointed to a casket he was holding in his hands.

“You can have her atom. Take it!” I said as a tender feeling surged forth inside me.

“My dear Zeph, it is not as easy as you say.” He said, with tears in his eyes. “I cannot take the atom, because the extraction will alter you. You will be no longer your former self. Perchance even become something you would not like. For her essence is now your essence, and the essence of all other creatures of the cosmos in whom her atoms have come to life.”

For a moment I was unsettled, even sad at his words. Though his revelation was disquieting, I felt no fear. In fact, there was calm security in his presence. I had a firm conviction that I would not come to harm from him. But I had no answer to Nu, for it was beyond my ability to reply.

By now the full moon was in her most ravishing brilliance for the night. The birds in the conifers had long gone to sleep. The trees were steeped in silence.

Nu said, “In my quest through the universe, to recreate my beloved, as I reach the conclusion of my seeking, the Truth of Love has been ultimately revealed to me. It is that to love another is to love the universe itself. That none of us are separate from another, that we do not, can not exist in isolation from the other. What is in you, is in me, is in my beloved, is in the whole universe. It is impossible to truly love another without loving everyone else. The atoms that belonged to my beloved once, are now part of others, who deserve as much love as she did. For what once belonged to me, shall belong to you tomorrow. If I love myself today, I shall love you tomorrow and so shall it be through all time to come. Verily love is a chain of love and it enfolds us all in one single bond. That is the supreme truth we should grasp if we are to ever fathom this sublime enigma.”

I sat with Nu, enthralled by his alien understanding that was far deeper than I had found in any other human.

“Farewell, my dear Zhep! Spread your love to the universe. Do not enclose it. Let it know no bounds!”

Nu got up, pressed a ball-like object he held in his hands, and vanished before my very eyes. I looked up at the star-studded sky and followed a glittering object retreating from the Earth, headlong into the eternal expanse of space.

***

Ever since that night, I feel my heart has become bigger, that it has more space than before. Space as vast as the universe. Every beat seems like eternity pulsing through my body. And I wake up every morning, and go out, with love that overflows in each thrum, ready to spill into anyone who understands this profound mystery.

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Beryl Zephyr

An occasional writer but a regular thinker, Beryl sometimes fiddles in speculative fiction. He sees both humour and tragedy in everyday events and is extremely concerned with the fate of other creatures trapped in the monstrous march of 21st-century human civilization.

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