The Writer and The Word (03)byAdrian Leverkuhn©
"You've done everything, my love."
Nancy recoiled from Diane's declaration. She seemed to drift toward shock.
"Nancy. I always knew what you were doing, it was plain to see. But I saw something in you that seemed to define the solution to a great problem I have. I saw you headed toward an abyss, an abyss where love is framed between retribution and decay, where love is consigned to the oblivion of anger. But I saw something greater, in you, Nancy, that took me completely by surprise. I saw in you the very last chance I will have in this life to come to know true love, because I saw into your heart, saw into your love for me . . ."
Nancy convulsed into paralyzed sorrow, felt her conflicted tears shutting down her ability to breath. "How did you know . . ." she managed to ask.
"Because you didn't hide that from me, Nancy. At least not as well as you think you did! Your love was very plain for me to see. It was misfocused, and obscure in the beginning; as you came to terms with your hate. Yet I feel I recognized the false claim it had on your heart, and it was as if I saw you change before my eyes. I saw your misguided hate flower into love. Love for me, Nancy. And then I knew what had been hitting at me for days: I knew I loved you, too."
Nancy came to her, placed her head in Diane's lap as she knelt before her. Diane wanted for all the world to hold her tightly to her breast, but that gesture was now almost an impossibility for her. With but one functional arm, she had been trying to come to grips with the reality of this new limitation, but suddenly, in Nancy's quiet gesture, she no longer felt limited or constrained.
"Nancy, I know you start school in August, but that's almost six weeks away," Diane continued. "I want you to come home with me, help me get adjusted to . . . my new circumstances. And we can just take it day by day. But if you'd like it, Nancy, I'd really like you to be a part of my life . . . I love you, and I want you."
Nancy had been looking up at Diane during all of this, and as Diane finished speaking Nancy stood and kissed her, then held out her hand to Diane. "Well, alright then. We'd better get you home."
Diane sat in her chair, but kissed Dr Katz gently on the cheek as she knelt down to say her goodbyes, then took Nancy's hand in hers. The two women, so different yet so alike, moved from the office. As Nancy walked Diane past her father in the waiting room, he simply said "Good luck, sweetie." He then went in to talk with Susan Katz.
Several weeks later, Sumner and Angela were walking from Paddington Station to her London apartment. Sumner had purchased a small estate near the village of Welles, a few hours southwest of London, but near the cultural center of Bath, and famous for the architectural beauty of it's cathedral. His new property wasn't huge, perhaps a little over two hundred acres, but the house on it was new, and, well, it wasn't small. He'd had a heliport completed, and had made arrangements to commute to Harvard for his last term there in the fall.
While Sumner had been to England many times over the years, he had never really been there to see it through the eyes of a native, and he had fallen in love with the land and the people quickly. Like many Americans, raised speaking the mantra that America was the beacon of liberty and that there was no place better, he had been shocked to see the people of England not content to voice empty slogans about liberty and democracy. They had embraced it, and fought for it as Americans once had, but they had not taken these profound gifts for granted, as Americans had.
Sumner saw in Europe the ideas America had stood for - and fought to ensure - now in full bloom, while at home these ideas were under assault by tyrannical neo-conservative evangelists and people desperate to cling to a very uncertain past. He had few regrets about his choice to marry Angela and remain in England. He knew he would miss the seething cauldron of America's cities, the vibrant interplay of myth and melting pot creating an ever changing landscape of new ideas and new technologies, but he feared the era of American entrepreneurship was at an end, that it would cave in to the religious extremism of the neo-conservatives. One element seemed to characterize these zealots: the were intolerant of any change that didn't conform to some scriptural interpretation of the world, and hence Sumner knew, they were doomed to destroy the American experiment which was, after all, predicated on violent and often unpredictable change.
So Sumner Welles and Angela White had wed, standing under the centuries old scissor arch that defined the nave of Welles Cathedral, whispering ancient words in the ancient space, joining and moving into the never-ending flow of time as one. They had kissed, and looked at one other, still enraptured with what they saw in each others eyes.
Nancy Greenbaum and Diane Westhoven were joined in civil union just before Christmas that year in a ceremony at the Old North Church. Diane had resumed writing, but more often than not she dictated to Nancy as they sat fireside in the evenings after Nancy returned from her classes at Harvard. Nancy often spoke of Sumner, keeping Diane informed of his progress through school, his acceptance of a Rhodes Scholarship, and his now permanent status of Citizen of the Commonwealth, a subject of the Queen.
It was no small irony that Sumner Welles stood beside Diane Westhoven by the alter of the Old North Church, stood beside her at Nancy's request. He was the father of their union, after all, as he had ushered their joining into this world just as surely as he had once nearly torn them from this world.
Nor was it a small irony when Diane's latest book hit the New York Times bestsellers list after the new year had come and gone, and remained there for almost eighteen months. She and Nancy, looking at the continuing deterioration of liberty and freedom in America, and the increasingly dangerous conditions that now confronted lesbian couples in the wave of hyper-puritanical hysteria that accompanied the election of Jeb Bush to be the 44th President of the United States, decided to move to Switzerland.
The name of her book, you ask?
The Autobiography of my Suicide.
Dedicated, you might presume, to Sumner Welles and Angela White. And you would be correct in your presumption. But that, dear reader, is another story.