"The drought was heartbreaking," said Heather. She told Sylvia that Winston and his father would walk out into a field and break open some kernels of barley and just stare. She saw tears in his father's face. The kernels were hollow and much too light. The crop wasn't even worth the expense of harvesting it. They put cattle out to graze it. One of them died, because of a too high concentration of nitrogen from the fertilizer that hadn't been fully converted for the lack of water.
She told Sylvia that those pressures made Winston unbearable. He became mean, swore at her, and even hit her. But this wasn't the reason she left. She said that the final straw was his father becoming involved with the New Unity Church that was catering to financially troubled farmers. The church pushed a hate campaign against the 'Jewish devil,' the grain cartel operators that were about to devour their farms. The church told the farmers they were God's chosen people and urged them to defend themselves. So Winston and his father, like many others, went and bought themselves automatic weapons and boxes of ammunition.
"That's when you got divorced?" Sylvia asked.
"No, that would have been too painful. I simply walked out. It was a thousand times better to be alone, lonely, and destitute, than to be locked into such an explosive prison. Maybe this was also the reason why I allowed myself to fall in love with Pete on the very day we met. He was so free, so uncomplicated. He made no demands. He appreciated my need to be myself. There was a gentle passion in the air that was totally beautiful compared to that phony romance Winston and I had before we got married. Pete's love opened like the pedals of a flower in the morning sun. Everything unfolded by itself with no one pushing anything. Everything was easy and natural between Pete and me, and much more beautiful than any contrived romance could be. I don't think I really knew what love is, until then, and how its fire can lighten the world. I only knew what hate is."
Heather told Sylvia that she couldn't comprehend whom Winston and his father had thought they would shoot at with their guns. If it was really the cartels that were squeezing them, they would never be able to shoot at the people who had them under their thumb. The rulers of the cartels would never be found outside of their villas in Switzerland. The local bank would get the sheriff to evict the farmers once the foreclosure notice was served. They would then instruct the local real estate agent to sell the farm at auction. Then another real estate agent would put up a few pennies to buy the property in order to fill the land purchase orders that came from the cartels. She said they would have to shoot their own people with their machine guns.
Heather said that the language that was used scared her the most. They were calling Hitler their brother. She said that it was devastating to see how many fields were left bare once the farms were auctioned off. She could certainly see how this Hitler-type violence could attract a simple-minded farmer, a person who had worked all his life on the land and was about to loose it for no fault of his own.
Heather said that in a way she couldn't fault the farmers for being so angry, seeing all this productive capacity being idled when the funds simply weren't available anymore to plant the new crops, and this while human beings were starving to death in Africa, and even at home in the slums of the cities. The empty fields meant that plagues and deadly diseases could spring up again, caused by malnutrition, even some that for a long time were deemed a thing of history.
"I'm sorry you had to go through all this," Sylvia interrupted her.
"No, don't be sorry," Heather replied. "I've come out of this richer. I've come to realize that no one in the world has any power over me: no man, not even Pete; or any thing, including nuclear war. If a Russian bomb kills us tomorrow, so be it. I had life, and I had wonderful experiences. If it ends tomorrow, fine! The threat of it won't get me down today. This attitude, I got from Pete. He was so alive! His answer was that life is not an Olympic competition in which only one person out of the whole world can win. He said that life is love. He said, its principle is universal loving. He didn't really know how to explain this. However, by the way he acted it was plain to see that he regarded the Principle of Universal Love that he discovered in East Germany, to be the only platform in the world that he could think of on which everybody wins. He was excited about this. I think we should all be."
"Unless we manage to screw this up, too," Sylvia interrupted her. "I nearly screwed this up in a big way."
Heather nodded. "That's easy to do, especially when all this is new. It doesn't seem real at first. At first it comes to light as something too good to be real. But eventually it did seem real. I didn't know this at first," said Heather. "I just felt that Pete had opened up a whole New World for me, a world that I never knew could exist. Yes, I did manage to screw this up. I think I have hurt Peter badly when I walked away from him. I think I did this on order to make it easier for us all to reestablish the Old World again. The challenges became too great to go forward. That's how I screwed up. Still, the sparkle of this New World that I had turned my back to did never go away. It became a way of life that I am trying to hold on to. It made me love everybody more. I hope to bring some of that into Ross' life now."
"Yes, that is what Peter had proposed to me that we should all do for one-another," said Sylvia. "I was furious at first that he would even consider something like that. I answered him by proposing a divorce, but he just kept on loving me and fighting for me, raising me up. Eventually I did begin to sense the sparkle that you are talking about, of what he called the Principle of Universal Love. I never heard of a thing like that before. Now that I am beginning to be touched by it, I can barely imagine what a wonderful world we would live in if this were to happen on a global scale. However, Peter goes still further. He says that we have no choice, really, but to make this New World a reality. He says that the Old World has become too dangerous for us all to live in, in which no one might survive, or only a very few can. Still, I think what really drives him is the sparkle of the New World. I think that's the real gem."
"And why shouldn't it drive him, Sylvia," said Heather. "Can't you imagine what a wonderful world we really have within our grasp in which everybody wins, in which nobody looses? Right now we live in an Olympic world in which everybody in the world looses, except a few. In our Olympic world the entire game that we play revolves around a vicious struggle of beating everybody to the punch. That is why nobody wins. Can you imagine what the world will be like if this becomes history and we support one-another to such a degree that everybody wins in life? That's the sparkle that I saw in Pete, which I want to see everywhere. That's the New World that I want to live in as much as possible. Of course, getting there from where we are right now is a huge challenge. It seems almost impossible to get there. However, even against these odds, Pete pushes himself ahead. I think, sometimes he is quite scared about it, actually."
Sylvia nodded reluctantly.
Heather began to laugh. "Let me tell you about this strip joint in Key West," she added. "We came to this place without knowing what it was. Pete didn't walk out when he discovered what the pub was that we went to. It had featured live music for lunch, and had been recommended to us for its renowned fish fillets. Peter didn't seemed to be taken aback that it was also a strip-joint. Instead of being embarrassed he merely commented that the people in this place were probably more human, honest, and open to life than the entire Admiralty had been that had been squeezing information out of him for a week, during the debriefing sessions, demanding information about East Germany that would betray the very people who had been his host."
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