(Powerful photo from the collection of Arsh Matharu Photography)
Chapter Twenty-One (2002 ~ 31 years)
Spiritual Reprieves along the Road of Tough Love
'It’s true that one cannot always be positive. At such times one may retire from one’s associates. But as you evolve so your contact becomes more powerful than the influence of the other person. Therefore the other person receives more benefit from you, while the harm you receive is less. If by receiving a little harm you are able to do more good to the other person, it is just as well. It is only a matter of self-discipline, and love can conquer all things. In every person, however wicked, there is a good string somewhere; you must know where to find it. If one always thought about it, one could always touch the best point of the other person and overlook the other points. Nevertheless, it is a struggle.’
~ Hazrat Inayat Khan
Zane was a mysterious man, battered and torn by life. When I came to know his mind a little, I could perceive heavy psychological scars that marred the happier disposition he normally presented to the world. I saw him change from a positive to a negative mindset in seconds whenever he discussed his past relationships, especially involving Susie—the mother of his beautiful seven-year-old daughter, Paige. We shared the same name, so I’d hear it in rotating tones of displeasure and pleasure. It wasn’t long before our names did feel the same.
I was still an idealist and hoped to help Susie and Zane reunite. I tried this through listening to him, giving understanding, and offering him alternatives to the way he saw their situation. My relationship with Zane commenced openly… he was aware of the Shastri predictions from when we’d first met. I felt comfortable helping him explore new and healthier avenues of thought, ones that could be fruitful and beneficial to all concerned… especially for little Paige.
Exploration into these fields of thought didn’t seem to interest him, and in blind faith—similar to what I had held for Ben, I hoped he’d grow interested in the way someone close to him saw and interacted with life despite having a physical disadvantage. Not wanting to deter his potential interest, I chose not to talk about metaphysical matters and spiritual stuff much … although I read Rumi poems to him every so often! Like these:
King, SAINT, thief, madman—
Love has grabbed everyone by the neck
And drags us to God in secret ways….
How could I have ever guessed
That God, too, desired us?
We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
We are tasting the taste this minute
of eternity. We are pain
and what cures pain, both. We are
the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.
Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy,
absentminded. Someone sober
might worry about things going badly.
Let the lover be.
All simple fun stuff, yet with deep meanings that helped me throw care to the wind. He seemed to enjoy hearing such words, but their beauty didn’t touch the flower of his heart.
We would talk about day-to-day issues, and I did a lot of listening about his past relationships, highly-charged with emotional pain. He portrayed himself as the victim, and was unable to take responsibility for his part… seemingly trapped in the emotionally metaphoric ‘dark age’.
With good intentions, I hoped to penetrate some of those deeper, darker crevices. I don’t know why I felt capable of helping him or why I felt so inclined—he didn’t ask me for help, either did Harry or Ben. Maybe it was because of my slow-moving problem…I wasn’t going anywhere quickly and had the time to spend time with people, always grateful for their physical help…
Zane reflected brightness and light at first, especially through his huge smiles, warm hugs, and dark-brown eyes. It was wonderful being in his arms; our hearts shone happily through the experience. A meeting of the minds was secondary to the intensity of those physical, emotional feelings; our heart charkas were in full swing for a while. I was ready to feel love on every level. But, the topsy-turvy emotion of this world still reigned supreme for Zane, a world from which I also wasn’t free … and he proves a great teacher to me.
The lesson reveals itself quickly—for a meeting of the minds is vital, and I describe the following interaction to show the bizarre ways we went to try to find common ground…
AUSTRALIA’S DAY, January 26, we had our first break up. I’d stayed the night at Zane’s and we spent the day at the Sport’s bar adjoining Dad’s TAB. This was Zane’s favourite sort of outing, having a love of gambling on horses from way back.
The bonus for me was watching Dad while he worked. Even though he never needed to say anything to me, the love in his eyes said it all… sometimes he’d say, ‘You’re marvellous’, for being happy even when unable to walk. I was happy to be out—often forgetting I had a problem, simply enjoying Zane’s company and friends, sharing in laughter and jokes.
But, that boat was about to rock…
Zane intervened on a conversation I was having with a man who had asked why I was a vegetarian. Although I had strong opinions about the suffering of animals, the consequences of their suffering, and the make up of the human body, I chose not to talk about them, and simply explained that vegetables and fruits have less senses than animals, and reproduce on mass plentifully and quickly after picking. (As described in books such as The Holy Science by Sri Yukteswar - One animal life, takes incomparably longer to produce than fruits and vegetables…its life comprises blood and bones, together with its own fate.) Although I learnt this from sources of philosophical influence, Zane interjected, ‘Suzie’s right, Suzie’s always right’. I appeared to take it playfully, but his sudden forthrightness of the arrogant kind worried me. He seemed to be getting me ‘wrong’.
Zane and I had discussed the reasoning behind my chosen diet, and naturally, I didn’t expect him to stop eating meat. I had assumed he’d respect my choice, even if it was foreign to him. Alas, after we happily bid Dad and crew goodbye, we clashed as we drove along the glorious Ettalong Beach seashore.
I was looking at the water as we drove along, enjoying the tranquillity and expressing delight, when we came across a view seen countless times…. fishermen on the shoreline. Without thinking, and in subliminal reaction to a comment he had made in the club about feeding my guinea pigs to his greyhound, I called, ‘Don’t do it’ out the window loud enough for only Zane to hear. He reacted with contempt and said fishing was a family thing, in which children loved being involved. I affirmed that for me the ordeal was horrid to witness as a child, particularly the ‘gutting’ episode—disbelieving it was happening before my eyes. I toughened as time went by, taught by society that this was the norm… necessary, a sport, and one of the most peaceful practices to perform in life…
‘The problem with you Suzie is that you’re not real, I’m a realist!’ Realising he was uncommonly upset, I apologised and said I thought I could say anything around him. He reaffirmed I could and then spoke adamantly about the food chain, explaining with reproach that animals were here for us to eat.
I suddenly realised he was deeply attached to these views, and gently said, ‘These are the things that will eventually move us apart’.
‘That’s okay, I’ll cop it on the chin when the time comes,’ he said initially … but moments later, he banged his hands on the steering wheel, ‘Stuff it, that’s it, I’m taking you home and ending it now’. Lost for words, I looked at him in disbelief. He continued, ‘You’re always trying to end our relationship and I’m sick of it’. Hesitantly, I had said a couple of times (including that morning) that a relationship doesn’t really exist if two people can’t communicate matters, even the painful ones. I had said this in a matter-of-fact yet gentle way, in response to Zane not wishing to listen to me opening up about an issue from my past (regarding Jia and my cousin Liz).
Driving onwards, hearing more from Zane about how ‘real’ people thought, I said lightly, ‘Let’s just agree to disagree’. He agreed and seemed to calm, so I suggested driving to the beach, (near home), to talk for a few minutes. On pulling up at the beach car park, friction almost immediately reoccurred between us trying to reach peaceful ground, and with it, he reversed the car exclaiming to a woman nearby, ‘Yeah, you know what it’s like!’ In further disbelief and instant embarrassment—thankful she didn’t see me, I remained silent and listened as Zane went to the tune of, ‘The problem with you is you’re always right, no matter what, Suzie’s always right’ all the way home, not looking at me as he spoke.
He didn’t hear me saying, ‘There’s no right or wrong, there is no judgment’, and couldn’t hear it under the top of his voice or in the pits of irrational anger. His mind was barren to this thought. When we pulled into my driveway, he said, ‘I’m putting you and your things in the house and leaving’. After getting the wheelchair and bags, he came to my door and said, ‘You’re a hypocrite anyway,—I bet you’d eat meat if you were in the mood’. Speechless at where all this was coming from, he pushed me across the lawn saying over my shoulder, ‘Nobody is like you in this world, you’d better take a good look at yourself’.
I sighed and embraced the insightful opportunity to say, ‘Okay if I need to then you must do also’.
‘I knew you’d say that!’ he retorted.
Nanna was in the side garden and she called a happy hello when she saw us. I replied with a smile that grew wider when she said, ‘Paul telephoned. He’ll call you again later’. The sound of a friend’s name at such a time is blissful!
He wheeled me through the lounge room to the toilet saying, ‘Even though this has happened I’m not you’re enemy’.
‘Of course, there are no enemies,’ I softly answered. Adding, ‘Oh well, I guess you’ll know me when you read my book’.
‘This doesn’t mean I hate ya,’ he said as I moved from my chair to hold onto the toilet door, and then before closing the door I turned to bid him a sad goodbye.
I remained sitting for sometime, dumbfounded and feeling surreal. I cried… this was the strangest incident I’d ever experienced in a relationship. Not knowing or believing Zane would actually leave on those terms, I opened the toilet door in hope of a peaceful close. He had gone, without leaving my walker outside the door. Just then, Nanna came in from the garden, ‘Suzie, where’s Zane gone? And he’s left you without your walker!’ Sadly, I told her we had broken up after I said something that upset him about fishing …‘it was my ignorance Nan, speaking of such to Zane, who loves fishing.’ Nan was baffled. She had just waved off what looked to be a merry Zane, and wondered how such an issue could cause careless behaviour—leaving me unhappy and without my walker. Nanna had never seen me cry over a guy, she was so compassionate; she understood my bewilderment, and saw my strength.
Alone, I rang Zane’s mobile. He didn’t answer, so I left a message, apologising for upsetting him over the fish, and wishing him peace and love in the future. I thought he’d call that evening or the next day, but Zane was different to anyone I’d ever known.
Because Mum was visiting Tom, what then could have been a lonely night with these thoughts wasn’t. A vibrant, John Archer soon knocked on the door, and then Ben. We shared a lovely few hours and after John left, Ben showed me poems and artwork given to him from a woman. He told me about their love energy, and then told me of another girl he was also interested in. I didn’t discuss Zane with Ben; the memory of him was already like something out of a bizarre movie, just over...
* * *
Throughout the next 22.5 pages of this chapter:
Retreat to Sarah’s – attend great party.
Reconnect with Zane: ‘Please let me love you until you’re ready to fly away. I’ll let you go when you’re ready’.
Weeks later: break with Zane again.
Attend Babaji Benefit Indian Cultural Night with Dad.
Attend Ammachi long-weekend retreat with Mum.
On and off with Zane again.
Saw His Holiness the Fourteen Dalai Lama - free public talk on Universal Responsibility and Happiness in Sydney.
MS appointment for potential cure/treatment.
The forbidden medicine now not so forbidden. Medicinal marijuana!
Sydney Swans with Dad, Dave, and Zane… we give it one more go…
Meet my pen pal friend from jail.
Bitten by a dog.