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Chapter 3: Matters of the Heart [©1979 by Bobby Matherne]
A light rain was falling outside the ISC Laboratory. Dr. Mornay was gazing out the window at the ICN equipment trucks that were carrying the broadcast all over the world. He remembered that it had rained on the day he married Edie. It was a light January rain, cold but not too wet. Edith was like that, cold with very little emotional moisture. He would have called her frigid if he had not found out too late exactly all that implied. He had recently mistaken the name of an artwork entitled Still Life with Bridle to be Still Life with Bride. He chuckled at his error, realizing that it had reminded him of Edith.
The marriage lasted nine years — he tried his best to warm her up, meeting with only occasional successes. Once he encouraged her to buy a slinky dress with shiny blue fringe covering it. On the night of the big party she borrowed a red wig and she was transformed from an icy brunette to a fiery redhead. He called her "Sexie" that night and she lived up to the name. But it was only one night; the dress stayed in the closet and the wig was returned to her friend the next day. The cold rain returned. She was like a fire that took so much effort to get started that he got warm from the trying, but got no heat from the resulting fire. He gave up trying.
Then Ingrid came blowing into his life like a tropical heat wave. He met her at a Halloween costume party. A large voluptuous blonde, she was dressed up like Morticia in white makeup and a long black dress, while her husband was in a red suit with a long tail and a pitchfork. When Robert danced with her, the heat from her body was enough to warm nine Januarys' worth of icy rains and turn them into steam. She was soft, smelled of White Shoulders, and almost trembled as they danced. He wanted more of her, but dared not dance again too soon with her or Edie might notice. Near the end of the evening, he danced with her again, but not before he had danced with Edie and also with the cute backyard neighbor that Edie disliked. He wanted to deflect Edie's attention from the statuesque blonde that was steaming his glasses and his heart.
Months later he came home from the laboratory and saw a short guy with a full black beard running down the street with a kite and a kid trailing behind him. "Who's the guy?" he asked Edie when he got inside.
"Oh, that's Paul, Ingrid's husband. They moved in that vacant house down the street. She and I are going to be best of friends."
"Ingrid," he thought. Wasn't that the name of the blonde at the Halloween dance? Could it be the same one? The guy in the red suit was short with a black beard. That could have been her husband in the street just now trying to get a kite in the air for his son. He went over with Edie to meet her new friend. It was the gal in the black dress, all right, and his glasses steamed up again. Ingrid was working over a large abstract painting that filled the floor of her small studio, an orange palette with odd bits of cord, string, leaves, and other unidentifiable materials embedded in it. In the lower right-hand corner was a strange rectangular shape that looked like a man's boxer shorts. When he asked her what that was, she said "boxer shorts" right out. She was not bashful in any way and he was taken aback by her directness. It would not be the last time.
They all four became best friends. Edie and Ingrid went to dance lessons and took art classes together. He helped Paul plant trees in their front yard. But mostly when he went over Paul was watching TV; he worked and watched TV, and that was about it. The TV series "The Prisoner" was just beginning and they watched it together while Ingrid sat on the couch reading. She would take a large glass of vodka and orange juice to Paul and bring an equally large glass to him. Containing three-fourths vodka, one was enough to wobble his knees. Then, before he'd finished the first drink she'd brought him another, without asking, so he had no chance to refuse. Ingrid owned three Mah Jong sets and she taught him and Edie to play with her and Paul. Mah Jong, an ancient Chinese gambling game played with tiles instead of playing cards, is a little like rummy. It has runs, three and four of a kinds, and wild cards. Going Mah Jong is similar to making a canasta, requiring a set of three-and four-of-a-kinds to complete it. He liked Mah Jong because they could talk while playing the game. A single Mah Jong game was lengthy and could last well into the early morning hours if they attempted to play a complete game.
The first hand of Mah Jong is dealt by a person who is designated as the East Wind. After each hand, the East Wind designation passes until each person has been East Wind once. That completes the East Wind round. A complete Mah Jong game requires that four rounds be completed, East, South, West, and North Wind rounds. Many games were ended more by exhaustion than by completion of the four rounds, but the two couples loved the long evenings of skill, luck, and each other's company.
They double dated but it was he and Ingrid who had the most fun. Edie and Paul were like their chaperons, always staring at him and Ingrid as they enjoyed whatever was happening. Once they went to see "The Producers" with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. He and Ingrid laughed and laughed and shared the joy of the movie across the two stone faces sitting between them. How do you ask your spouse to move to the other side of you because she's blocking your having fun with another woman? The question came to his mind during the movie but he never found an answer to it until years later.
Soon Ingrid had replaced the dolphins in his dreams. At night he slept next to Edie and dreamed of Ingrid. Ingrid, sleeping next to Paul, several houses away, spent the nights in his dreams. He undressed her in his mind, and made mad, passionate love to her over and over again. This went on for several years, the polite double dating in the evenings and the passionate lovemaking in his dreams at night. He never knew if she cared for him more than a friend, so they remained good friends until finally his job took him to the west coast. Before he and Edith moved away, they had a goodbye dinner with Ingrid and Paul at a fancy downtown hotel. It was prime rib all around. During dinner Ingrid took her empty wine glass and held it under this glass globe with a silver rod sticking out of the bottom. As a dark red liquid filled her glass, he discovered the object was a fancy wine dispenser and filled his glass also. What struck him at the time was that she just did it. She didn't ask permission, didn't ask if it was all right or how much it cost, just did it. He knew then if she wanted him she would just take him. But she didn't, not that night. They said goodbyes all around and parted.
Years went by. He was busy furthering his career in computers and graphics on the west coast while Ingrid was dealing with tragedies in her life. First her mother died while in a diabetic coma. She was a lifelong alcoholic and recent diabetic. There were hints that she may have found a bottle of gin she had hidden from Ingrid's dad and committed suicide or simply drank herself to death. Her dad lost no time in marrying his long-time secretary, causing considerable gossip over the quickness of the marriage, coming so soon after his wife's death. Ingrid liked her new stepmother a lot, but her joy was short-lived because her dad's job took them to the northeast and he developed intestinal cancer soon afterward. Ingrid spent weekends flying to his bed side in the hospital. When he died, she inherited a large sum of money from his insurance policy, and she and Paul became rich.
He didn't see Ingrid for several years, and his dolphin dreams returned. He managed to stay in touch with her every couple of months by calling her from his laboratory late at night. She told him how she planned to buy a new car with the money she had inherited. She and Paul would wear old overalls with patches and would stuff hundred dollar bills in the various pockets of their clothes, enough to pay for the car. They would select the car they wanted and, when the salesman, seeing how poor they appeared, would ask the inevitable question, "And how are you planning to pay for this car?", they would say, "Cash," and begin pulling out the crumpled hundred bills one at a time, and piling them on the salesman's desk. It was typical of Ingrid's imagination to come up with that idea. He and Ingrid laughed over the look they imagined would be on the salesman's face when he'd see them pulling out the bills. "Sometimes you can have so much fun thinking about doing something you don't have to do it," He told her. Tacitly they understood that it would be fun for her and him to do it, but with Paul it would be no fun at all.
There was something else about that story that he would find out later; it had to do with having money and being able to afford something. She told him the story about her grandmother who had gone to the butcher's to buy some Roquefort cheese. It was a very expensive cheese, but as a luxury her grandmother allowed herself to buy a couple of ounces from time to time. There was a new butcher that day and, when she asked if he had any Roquefort cheese, the butcher looked at her in disdain and said, loud enough for everyone in the shop to hear, "Yes, it's six dollars a pound!" Her grandmother girded up her loins, and without missing a beat, told him, equally loud, "I'll have six pounds!" There was something about having a lot of money that would change Ingrid, He could tell, but he had no idea how much that change would come to affect him.
Once he flew back to Miami and although he had told Ingrid he was coming, she had chosen that weekend to to visit her stepmother. Obviously, he thought, my coming in town wasn't important enough for her to stay around. About a year later, a week long conference brought him back to Miami and somehow he gave her the wrong date for his trip. He drove out to her house Saturday morning and she came to the door in an old sweatshirt like she wore when she was painting, looking just like the day he had first met her. He went into the kitchen to have coffee with her and Paul. They had just gotten up. The three old friends talked, drank coffee, and renewed their acquaintance. There was a neighborhood party that night, lots of old friends would be there, would he come? He agreed and met them at their house about 7:30 that night. It was a sparkling clear February night, Valentine's Eve, a full moon, and he was without his chaperon. Ingrid had hers, but once at the party, Paul disappeared into the crowd. A friend of Ingrid's was there, Eve. She and Eve looked a little alike, both large and curvaceous. Eve sat on the sofa next to him and he tickled her teasingly. To his surprise he caught a flash of something in Ingrid's eyes that he had never seen before. If he hadn't known better, he would have thought it was jealousy, but how could that be?
The party warmed up as the liquor began flowing and Ingrid became quite tipsy. Once she slipped off the piano bench. He was drinking lightly, still musing over that look he had seen in Ingrid's eyes. Later, while they were dancing in the middle of the floor, Ingrid stopped, looked him straight in the eyes, and, with a voice as direct as when she had said "boxer shorts," she said, "I'm hot for your body." His brain went into gridlock; he was speechless. Here was the woman of his dreams literally throwing herself at him. He was stunned. She grabbed his hand and took him out into the cold February night air, and with the full moon shining over her shoulder, told him that she had been in love with him for several years. She asked him to come to her Monday morning. He agreed and they dared to kiss one long passionate kiss in the icy blue glow of the moon before returning to the party. How he managed through the rest of the party he never knew, but when he left with Ingrid and Paul, he pulled a small red pipe cleaner shaped like a heart from the decorations on the glass storm door as they walked outside. Paul started the car to get some heat going, then went to open the gate. While Paul was out of the car, he reached over from the back seat and dropped the red heart onto Ingrid's lap. It was Valentine's Day for him, one he remembered for a long time.
Monday morning was a long time in coming. Sunday afternoon he went to a local Latin carnival parade, but the festive people, the floats, and the marching bands were not enough to push Ingrid out of his mind. As he walked the grassy median along the parade route, his mind filled with images, with possibilities. Here was a branching point, a bifurcation in his life, a decision time and he was completely alone. These thoughts welled up in his heart till they overflowed. He caught the floats out the corner of his eye as they passed him, but mostly he was somewhere far from the street parade.
"Ingrid, that soft sweetness in black on that Halloween dance floor, soon to melt into my arms completely," He thought as he walked. He had sensed her warm sensuality from the moment of that first dance, but in the intervening years she had always kept it under control, through the double dating, the dancing, the partying, and the long Mah Jong games late into the night.
Of course, then there had always been their spouses, their chaperons. "Tomorrow there will be no chaperons, just the two of us. There will also be no alcohol — could it have been the alcohol that loosened her tongue at Saturday night's party? She had quite a lot to drink, but then she's a big woman, over five feet ten and a shapely 180 pounds, so she can drink more than a petite woman like Edith and not get drunk. But she had drunk a lot before on our foursome outings. Was it her mother and father's deaths that triggered this sudden revelation, this revelation of her innermost self? Was it a revelation of hers or simply a snare for me?"
His questions to himself brought no answers, only more questions. Ingrid and Paul had two children, an eleven year old girl, Wendy, and a nine year old boy, Denny. He and Edith had two children, Roxanne, ten years old, and Rosie, eight years old. He was very married, forever in the sight of the Catholic Church and God. No thought of changing that entered his head on that day, but it would come sooner than he could imagine.
As he walked the parade route, he thought about his other love affairs. There had been two. One was a brief affair in Albuquerque. Married seven years then, he had never had sex with any other woman than Edith. He was on an extended business trip, a six month long graphics project that kept him away from home except for flights back every three weeks or so.
Rick Canfield and he were doing a factory acceptance test on a large computer system for their laboratory. His job was to finish the custom software for the computer portion of the system. Rick was sweet on Virgie, a secretary at the computer factory. He teased Rick about Virgie, and one day Rick confessed to him that he had been sleeping with Virgie for several weeks. He felt a slight shockwave through his body when Rick told him, but Mornay could only respond, "Come on, Rick, you're just kidding."
He thought no more of the episode, until one night, about 9:30, Rick called him and asked him to stop by his room. He figured Rick wanted to go out for dinner, which was not unusual since they didn't get back to the hotel before eight in the evenings. When he opened the door to Rick's room, he saw Rick and Virgie in the bed under the covers. All He could think of to say was, "Oh, I guess I believe you now."
Closing the door, he went out to eat alone that night, haunted by the thought of making love to another woman. It seemed so easy for Rick, but he had no idea of how to go about it. The next day he asked Rick to see if Virgie had a girl friend who might like to go out with him.
On Thursday night he and Rick met Virgie and her friend Marla at the Palomino Lounge. It would only be years later that he would make the connection between the name of the lounge and the ready-to-ride feeling he had that night. Marla was tall, and with her short blond hair and abundant curves, she looked like a voluptuous Doris Day. She was the same height as Robert, but with her high heels on, a bit taller. When they danced together the first time, Marla covered the back of his neck with her hand, and he felt his body warming up for action.
When they went back to the hotel, Rick and Virgie excused themselves after one drink and left for Rick's room. That was his cue, but he had no idea how to go about it. He wanted to take Marla to bed, but his head was buzzing with various ways to get her to his room. Aware that time was slipping away, he finally blurted out, "Would you like to go up to my room for a drink? There's a radio there and we could dance." Marla said yes and he quickly relaxed. "Whew, this is hard work," he thought as they walked to the elevator.
Once in the room he turned on the radio, and they kicked off their shoes. She placed her hand on the back of his neck again and they started dancing, even closer together than at the Palomino. He began to unzip Marla's dress as they danced. "Not so fast," she said, grabbing his hand, "where's my drink?"
He had forgotten about the drinks, and after he called room service, they went back to dancing. When the bellboy knocked on the door, Marla ran to the bathroom. He straightened his tie and opened the door, pretending he was alone and just thirsty. As he signed the bill, He noticed the bellboy smiling and looking at Marla's shoes on the floor by the radio. Embarrassed, he doubled the tip and let the bellboy out. He soon got her dress off and made love to her. He had finally had sex with another woman. Something very interesting he noticed - she moved while he was inside her and she made groaning sounds. "Was this normal?" he wondered to himself. His answer would have to wait till he had made love to some other woman and that didn't come till years later.
The other woman was Mandy. It would be years before they made love after their relationship began on a business trip to San Francisco. It was a cold, misty December night when he arrived in Chinatown and the mist was so heavy, it was falling, like a slow drizzle. "They probably call this rain in California," he thought. He bought himself an umbrella from a small shop along Grant Avenue and had dinner at the Golden Dragon Restaurant.
The conference featured a renown evolutionist, Garrett Hardin. In his after dinner speech he explained that the newly begun practice of heart transplants was a big concern to evolutionists. If a weak heart is due to a genetic defect, the gene that carries the defect will eventually disappear from the gene pool because the person will not survive to childbearing age. If a person's heart is replaced with a stronger heart and he or she goes on to have children, the gene will survive to the next generation. Each successive generation will produce more weak hearts. Given any slight advantage, a genetic trait can fill an entire gene pool over a long enough time. After thousands of years of multiple organ replacements, we might end with the typical human being as a brain encased in a glass dome on a motorized cart, all of its defective organs, due to genetic defects, having been replaced by electro-mechanical appliances.
The long-term genetic consequences of organ transplants made Mornay shudder. The solution to the problem, prohibiting transplant patients from having children, also made him shudder. He needed a drink.
He took the elevator to a hospitality suite given by a large computer firm where he knew the drinks would free and plentiful. He joined a group of programmers in conversation and there he met Amanda. Mandy, as everyone called her, was a programmer analyst with the local office of the company hosting the hospitality room. She was a full-bodied woman, as tall as he, with brown eyes that sparkled from under her close-cropped hair. She was a single, a career woman, and very interesting to talk to. He had taken off his wedding ring earlier and, since she never asked if he was married, he let her think he was single also.
Soon they left in a group in Mandy's car and drove through the ubiquitous mist to the Domino Club. It featured an artist's studio in the center of the lounge with an artist doing a painting of a nude female model. They had conversation over drinks and when they left, Mandy dropped all her pals off first and invited Robert to her apartment. It was one of those typical San Francisco apartments with the bay window jutting out over the sidewalk. He wondered if you could see San Francisco Bay out of Mandy's window. Maybe that's how bay windows got their name, he thought.
He looked out, but it was too misty for him to even see across the street. He saw only Mandy's soft brown eyes the rest of the night. They drank coffee and talked and talked late into the morning hours, as though not wanting the night to ever end. Leaving about dawn, he asked her to join him for dinner the next night. He then slept through the morning session of the conference. That night, at her suggestion, they went to a restaurant in Jack London Square on the Oakland waterfront. They dined looking at the skyline of San Francisco across the bay. She suggested he try the Johannesburg Riesling wine and the broiled mahi-mahi for dinner.
He recognized mahi-mahi as the Hawaiian name for the dolphin fish that is found in the deep Pacific waters off of the Hawaiian coast. It was not the aquatic mammal by the same name that he had spent so much time studying in Marine Biology. It was the first time that the word dolphin had come into his waking world since the three years he'd been working on computers and neural nets. He didn't know about synchronicity yet, but he would later understand that dolphins and love would be forever interconnected in his life.
The evening with Mandy was enchanting and inter-continental. They dined on Hawaiian fish, they danced to Latin music, they drank German wine, and they lingered over Brazilian coffee and American apple pie. They stayed up late again at Mandy's apartment, but Mandy had to work the next day so he left about one o'clock. They kissed in the doorway, a warm, friendly kiss, one that warmed him against the San Francisco chill. As they parted, they promised to write to each other.
By the next morning, the week-long fog had miraculously lifted, and he drove across the Golden Gate with his heart soaring. He stepped out of his car — there was San Francisco in all its sunlit glory across the Golden Gate! The sun warmed the outside of his body, just as Mandy had warmed the inside. Taking off later in his plane, he watched San Francisco tilting across his window as the plane banked steeply to the east. With the city by the bay parading across his view, he swore he could hear in the cabin the strains of music and the voice of Tony Bennett singing, "I left my heart in San Francisco." He had indeed left his heart in San Francisco, but he was taking his newfound love home with him.
When he arrived home, he suddenly remembered his umbrella. Where did he leave it? He wrote to his hotel, but they didn't have it. He wrote Mandy and she looked for it. She wrote back saying she found it above the back seat of her car, where he had placed it that first night when the car-full of people went to the Domino Club after the hospitality suite. She promised to mail it to him. That presented him with a bit of a problem. He had given Mandy the post office box of the laboratory where he worked and had received letters from her without any notoriety. But to receive an umbrella, one never knew. You never know until you find out was one of his favorite rules. If he retrieved the umbrella when it arrived, he might avoid any embarrassing questions.
He soon forgot about the umbrella until one day Rick came into his office carrying a long triangular package wrapped in brown paper. It had a curious bend in it: like a broken leg on a football player, it was bent in the wrong place due to an accident. "What's this?" Rick asked with a knowing smile on his face. He quickly took it, guessing it was the umbrella, and checked the return address. There, in her obviously feminine handwriting, was Amanda's name on the return address. He mumbled some response to Rick, secretly thankful that it was Rick who retrieved it, not someone else. Rick knew both from the return address and from his response that it was from a woman friend he had met in San Francisco. He almost discerned a look of brotherly pride on Rick's face.
He learned about California from Mandy's letters. She was that rarest of Californians, a native. Born on the island of Catalina and raised in California, she knew her state and loved every aspect of it. She shared this love of California with him, making it sound wonderful, and alleviating his fears about earthquakes, fires, and floods. He began to read books on the state and decided to move there if a job became available. Meanwhile Ingrid and Paul had just moved in down the street from him and Edie. He exchanged letters with Mandy for several years, sharing her excitement as she moved to Los Angeles and a new job. She wrote him that she had fallen in love with him and he responded in kind to her. They had not met again in person, had not had sex with each other, but had come to love each other through their letters.
A call for him came from California. It was a job interview with a computer graphics firm in Los Angeles. He didn't know which excited him more, the prospect of the new job or seeing Mandy again. She was waiting for him when he got off the plane in Los Angeles. Wearing a white suit and a big smile, she was a joy to behold and he gave her a long hug. Together at last.
She drove him to his room at a Holiday Inn near the intersection of the Santa Ana Freeway and Florence Avenue. As she drove, he found on his map that the shortest route was via Manchester Boulevard. She made some comment about the freeway being shorter, referring to the time it would take. But he was looking at his map and could see that the Manchester route was definitely shorter.
They rode through the middle of a wide downtown street for what seemed like forever. He had taken a potentially fifteen minute quick trip down the freeway and turned it into an hour long adventure. Even at ten o'clock at night and making most of the green lights, it took them almost an hour. He learned about freeways that night — no matter what the map says, the freeways are shorter. In Southern California, he was soon to learn, you get directions to the nearest freeway, and directions from the freeway to somebody's house. You always take the freeway because the surface roads, even the best of them, are only designed for local traffic to and from the freeways.
What he did next qualifies for the dumbest thing he ever did in his life. As soon as they were in the room, he told Mandy that he was married. He hadn't ever lied to her — he never told her he was single — the subject had just never come up.
Mandy was crushed and had an air of resignation that seemed to say "Not again." She shared with him that she had dated married men before, and had sworn to herself never again. He apologized, but the wonderful weekend they had planned was spoiled. Mandy told him she did not want to date him again. This came as a blow to Mornay.
Relieved that he had leveled with Mandy, he was still flabbergasted by her rejection of him and protested. Finally Mandy agreed to see him one last time. She suggested a day trip to Solvang, a quaint Danish village nestled in the Santa Inez Mountains north of Santa Barbara. It was her favorite place and she would share it with him.
Early the next morning they drove north out of Los Angeles. After stopping for breakfast in Santa Barbara, they arrived in Solvang in time for lunch. In a small restaurant she ordered some Danish sandwiches for the two of them. The sandwiches reminded him of canapés at weddings back home, open faced with meat on the top. Like his aborted relationship with Mandy, the sandwiches seemed incomplete, but he ate them with relish anyway.
He was grateful for this one full day with Mandy and they enjoyed each other's company immensely. Returning to the coast highway they took a back road and along the way, he stopped the car to inspect the oak trees siding the road. They seemed to be live oaks with Spanish moss in their branches. How could that be?
His answer came when he inspected the moss; it was not the Spanish moss of his childhood home, but some dry, flattened green moss that only resembled Spanish moss from a distance. They got out of the car and took a short hike to a waterfall. This he had to see. If desert-like California had live oaks and moss, maybe it had waterfalls also. When they reached the end of the trail, the waterfall was only a leaky faucet's drip falling from about a hundred feet above them. Earlier in the year it had been flowing quite heavily, a passing hiker told them. "Just like our love," he thought to himself, "and now it's nearly dried up, too."
His affair with Marla in Albuquerque had been all sex and no love. His affair with Mandy had been all love and no sex, and now it was falling apart. "When," he thought, "will I ever put both together?"
Parting at the end of the day was difficult for both of them, but he acceded to Mandy's wishes on the matter. With sadness he accepted that the woman who had been responsible for drawing him to California was going out of his life just at the time he was moving to California. He and Mandy had been so close over long distance via their letters, and now, so physically close, they were to be far apart in spirit. He didn't like it one bit.
As Mornay walked along the parade route, the sound of the marching bands brought him out of his reverie. Although he didn't like this long Sunday wait, he appreciated the time it gave him for thinking. Strolling the grassy median between blooming azaleas and parade watchers, he was suspended among an infinity of possibilities. "Tomorrow will be a day of action," he remembered thinking, "a rebirth, another chance. My old life feels like it's blowing away - perhaps that's why these memories have been flooding my thoughts."
The word "catastrophes" coming from the temporary broadcast studio's speakers caused Dr. Mornay to suddenly turn away from the window and refocus on the broadcast. This is new material, and he listened intently.
We Dolphin People had returned to the sea for many eons when the catastrophes hit. Huge rocks from space hit the earth causing great damage and loss of human life. We did not suffer greatly from these disasters because we were insulated from them in our watery home. Several times a large planet appeared in the sky followed by a rain of fiery rocks. One time a global tidal wave washed across the continents of the world. The Monocontinent had divided into separate land masses by that time. We estimated that about ninety-five percent of the population of Human People died along with about twenty percent of the Dolphin People.
Before the global tidal wave hit we had been aware of the desires of a large segment of our population to leave their physical bodies and were prepared for their departure. No one had anticipated the drastic conditions under which they were to leave. One day a bright star appeared in the morning sky. Each day it became brighter until it was visible during daylight also. As it grew larger and larger, an eerie sound filled the air around the planet. First we Dolphin People heard it, then the Human People heard it when it reached the lower frequencies. Neither had ever heard anything so beautiful. As we listened, the high-pitched tones varied in pitch and volume as they were carried by the wind. We called it "sound that dances on the wind" and the Human People called it "the music of the spheres."
Weeks went by and all of our activities were suspended so that we could watch this bright star and listen to the dancing sound it made. Hardly eating, we floated on the surface of the waters, imitating the beautiful sounds we heard. The Human People imitated the sounds also, especially when the pitch lowered into their vocal range, which even then was much lower than the Dolphin People's range.
One day a long, black, sinuous cloud appeared coming out of the star, which now resembled a huge shiny pearl the size of the moon in the sky. We felt deep rumbling in the sea. The crash and crackle of gigantic lightning bolts told us the crisis was near. The surface of the sea became inhospitable, filled with huge waves tossed about by high winds, and even the lowest depths of the sea vibrated with loud booming sounds. The young dolphins loved this time. They hurled themselves from wave crest to wave crest in acrobatic fashion. Most of the Dolphin People, however, stayed deep below the surface, coming up only briefly to breathe.
We got only brief glimpses of the Human People's tribulations during this time but we know that the devastation was horrible. At the climax of the star's approach, the ocean suddenly lifted hundreds of feet in the air, and with a loud roaring sound, sped at hundreds of miles an hour across the land masses of the world. Only the highest mountain peaks were untouched by the global tidal wave. All the Dolphin People that were close to the surface were smashed across the continents, most of them dying when the waters receded. They died in the midst of their ancient ancestors, the Human People.
After the giant tidal wave the dark clouds disappeared from the sky and the morning star appeared again as a large pearl, which each day became smaller and smaller, till it was again only visible in the early morning or evening hours.
The Human People were decimated by the tidal wave catastrophe and those few remaining alive walked around in a profound state of shock for months and years, many more dying during this time. All their friends, relatives, and belongings had disappeared overnight. The overwhelming scope of the events was too great to bear, and those that survived did so by developing complete amnesia for the episode. To this day the amnesia among the Human People continues and those brave souls who have tried to point to the widespread evidence of the global catastrophe in legends, in bones, and in stones have been ostracized from the contemporary scientific community.
Only many years after the Great Catastrophe did pieces of the suppressed memories re-surface. The way it surfaced was in their imitation of the "sound that dances on the wind." They fashioned hollow pipes that, when they blew on one end, imitated their "music of the spheres" as they called it. Many forms of musical instruments were created to imitate the various sounds they had heard during their "forgotten time." Large hollow logs when beat on with sticks recreated the anxious feeling of the last days before the tidal wave, but these were mostly kept to signal hostile actions against a nearby tribe, actions that had never occurred before the catastrophe. They had created "war" by doing to others what their gods had done to them. Their favorite musical instruments were the hollow tubes that emitted the beautiful sounds of the early stages of the star's appearance and created in them the feelings of awe and harmony they had felt then.
After many generations passed, the music became disconnected from the catastrophe by the collective amnesia. They played the music for their children, who learned how to respond to the various sounds by matching with the feelings of parents who had lived through the disaster. By this method of cross-generational propagation, the memories of the Great Catastrophe have continued to live in the Human People's music, stories, and unconscious lives. We Dolphin People followed the progress the Human People via the dream channel. As much as our way of communicating had diverged from the Human People's ways, we maintained contact with our Human kin in their dreams. The dreamers of the Human and Dolphin Peoples have not changed much in the course of evolution, and we Dolphin People have retained conscious access to our dream channels. Some few Human People, called by you, "waking dreamers", have conscious access to their dream channels, but few among you have listened to them, up until now. Much of what we describe here has come from monitoring the dreams of these waking dreamers.
The Human People changed after the catastrophe. They became aggressive and began to kill each other, something that had only occurred before by accident. When a neighboring tribe angered them, instead of using their ancient rituals of reconciliation, they prepared to attack them. First, they re-created with their drums the sounds of the last days before the climax of the catastrophe. These sounds frightened the offending tribe and they prepared spears to defend themselves from the imminent attack. The drums incited the attacking tribe into a frenzy that culminated in an attack that resulted in huge losses on both sides, and often the victor was determined by the tribe who had any members remaining after the battle. The rituals of reconciliation had been replaced by rituals of war.
We Dolphin People watched the Human People repeat these actions over and over again, knowing that they were not aware that they were re-creating the long forgotten Great Catastrophe again and again. Like an abused child, who has amnesia for its early abuse, they were doomed to hurl the same devastation upon others that had been hurled upon them.
We helped them as we could, but we were no longer able to communicate directly with the Human People because of the evolution of our visual language and the evolution of their grunt-based language. The best we could do was to communicate with them visually during their dreams. We found this most inefficient, however, since many Human People used the dream state to generate visual images of their own fears and our messages got mixed in with things that scared them. We have continued to perfect the dreaming process, and are content to merge our dreams with the dreams of the Human People until some of them discover our presence in their lives.
As we approach the time of your 21st century, many of you Human People have been discovering our presence in your seas and in your dreams. We Dolphin People have, for eons, awaited this day when we could consciously communicate with our ancient kin once more.
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