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The Man From Autumn

A Psychological Novel

Author(s): Mario Martinez

ISBN13: 9781595260970

ISBN10: 1595260978


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  • The Man from Autumn is a navigational chart for the journey of Self, concealed in a psychological novel. The reader is introduced to a mystical path that explores a world of meaningful coincidences where joy is the rule and anguish an exception.

    It is a rare and compelling psychological novel guiding the reader through a world of meaningful coincidences, loving relationships and mystical experiences such as stigmata, and exploring the depths of a mystics soul.

    It draws us into the inner recesses of the Vatican as the cardinals choose a new pope and it focuses on pain, love and forgiveness as issues for growth in faith and loving relationships. Through an interplay of belief and biocognitive theory, fiction and theology, the author explores living with pain while the storyline leads us to hope.

  • Mario Martinez

    Mario Martinez is a clinical psychologist and the author of "The Man From Autumn" and "The Mind Body Code". He specializes in how cultural and spiritual beliefs affect health and longevity. Mario lectures worldwide on his theory of Biocognition, and on the investigations he has conducted into alleged cases of stigmata for the Catholic Church, the BBC and National Geographic. He lives in the US and spends the autumns in Ireland and Celtic Spain.

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  • Chapter One
    "I accept the challenge, and I will christen him...Breog?ín"

    Returning to live and write in the Miami of his youth was haunting at best for Enrique Lugo. Coming home triggered memories of surfing with his friends by the dilapidated South Beach art deco neighborhood of his youth. There were no beautiful people prancing the ocean-side streets then. No, in those days the salty breeze carried the painful memories of elderly Jews who lived with shaming marks of inhumanity tattooed on their arms. Enriques shame was different, and although miniscule compared to the crimes of Auschwitz, it seemed equally painful for a twelve year-old to be called a spic by kids he admired. Shame has no boundaries when it wounds the spirit early on the journey: an Alpha Event.

    Now, those valiant Jews were icons of honor and the Spanish surfer was an anthropologist who addressed the ailments of a culture that had questioned his worthiness. Although the pseudo-compassion of our times has driven prejudice underground, remaining out of sight creates a collective illusion that it is out of mind. Enrique knew that sanitized dictums promoting sensitivity seldom reach the heart.

    It was Saturday morning and Enrique opened the double doors and stepped unto his second story balcony facing Ocean Drive. The thought of Thomas Wolfes admonition you cant go home again, surfaced as he deliberated how to extract happiness from the fame and wealth his last two novels had brought him. It was alluring to contemplate the composition of joy. How much of joy is convincing self from evidence of prosperity and how much of it is inherently within? But Enrique already knew that symbols are more powerful than achievements. Those ethereal conceptions we call symbols, can bring joy to the most humble experiences and hell to the peaks of accomplishments. So what is joy?

    He remembered the time his dear uncle invited a beggar to come in from the streets and take a table at an elegant restaurant where they were having lunch. The beggar brought the taste of his social history, and ordered the simplest items on the menu. That day, Enrique learned the joy of witnessing compassion, and today while drinking his cup of Jasmine tea he reminisced: my uncles benevolence lives on to honor him and comfort me: thus, the endurance of symbols.

    Tonight held a delightful anticipation. Enrique was dining with a woman of mystery and impressive beauty he met at an exclusive wine tasting two weeks earlier. There are two kinds of people who attend those functions: those who know wines, and those who know how to compress time with strangers. He was presently writing a novel that examined how the degree of intimacy we are willing to share, and the beliefs that guide our lives, are determined by what he called cultural portals. Enrique had been able to delineate cogently the dynamics of cultural boundaries, drawing from his field of expertise in psychological anthropology. He recalled how the conversation progressed that evening:

    "Hi, my name is Enrique Lugo, and I noticed you were looking at me."
    "Hello, Enrique, 1 am Kate Holland, and you amuse me with your assumption. "
    "Ah, 1 am in the presence of a sharp mind. But tell me Kate, can someone as beautiful as you remain humble?"
    "There you go assuming again. Who says 1 am humble?"
    "1 guess it was wishful thinking on my part because 1 can only love the humble."
    "Do you always love at first sight Enrique?"
    "Oh, no, I only delight at first sight."

    Kate smiled and, after a feisty conversation, gave him her mobile number. Enrique reassured her that, he would not fall in love with her until she learned humility.

    He was taking her to an intimate restaurant in Coral Gables that specialized in Galician cuisine. Enrique was a preferred customer, because he spoke Galician like a native. His father was from Celtic Spain, and taught Enrique a language that he tried to forget, during the years of cultural bashing. Now, Enrique reclaimed his heritage with the honor of a medieval knight, and spoke Galician with the waiters when he dined at Casa Xo?ín.

    As much as he tried, he could not stop thinking about Kate and how aloof she could remain from his attempts to charm her. He knew there are levels of detachment and layers of disclosure. He acknowledged his healthy regard for himself and made no excuses about it. That acceptance of self-valuation comes from transcending the ravage of prejudice, as one realizes that those who judge people by their ethnicity do so, from a premise of cultural impotence. Yet, Kate was bright, tall
    and lithe, with a striking presence: an amalgamate that could spell Kryptonite for Enrique. He knew, perhaps for some primeval reason, that a woman like Kate could enter the portals of his most guarded secrets, rendering him vulnerable to her persona.

    In his latest book, The Anthropology of Self Esteem, Enrique determined that, since the valuation of Self has contextual limitations, it was nearly impossible to feel emotionally worthy under all circumstances. But imperviousness to the valuing of others precludes empathy, and reflects the dark pathology of a sociopath. A healthy self-esteem is more like a bamboo shoot than armor. Enrique argued that our concept of worthiness is shaped by the symbols of aesthetics, ethics, health and theology that we assimilate from our culture. Beauty has relative as well as transcendent traits that interact to accommodate the values of a culture. If thinness were a contributing cultural factor for example, some contexts could make thinness necessary but not sufficient to be beautiful.

    At Casa Xo?ín, Enrique would dine with a woman who challenged his vulnerabilities, in an environment that represented his cultural strengths. He thought he had conquered his ghosts until Kate emerged to remind him of his surfing days, when ethnic insecurity was more draconian than the tallest wave he could ride. Miami Beach is not known for great surfing, but the waves Enrique feared and sought to defy, were encountered during hurricane warning conditions, hours before the storm arrived. Was Kate a hurricane or a ghost? Of course, he also entertained a remote indulgence that, she could be the partner, he diligently sought, with little faith.

    Brickell Ave. is lined with exclusive high-rise condominiums where the new wealth lives, but sprinkled between those monoliths facing Biscayne Bay, are a few palatial homes that attest to the permanence, only old money can achieve. As Enrique drove his Porsche Cabriolet while looking for Kates address, he had no idea she was one of those immutable residents. He almost passed the property, not expecting it to be her residence. He drove into a winding cobblestone driveway surrounded by impeccable landscaping, at last revealing a Mediterranean mansion that competed with the magnificence of Vizcaya. Enrique smiled at his capacity to be impressed without jealousy. Kate opened the sculpted door looking ravishing, paling his imagination, and racing his heartbeat.

    "I was expecting Jeeves to answer the door and ask me to wait in the drawing room."
    "Oh, we gave him the night off for good behavior."
    "Yes, we. I live with what others might call domestic help, and what I choose to view as my adopted family. By the :way, your Jeeves is my Frank. He insisted on remaining with me after father passed, five years ago."
    "How many adopted family members does it take to run this place?" "Only four."
    "How efficient of you. Kate, do you cook?"
    "Like a Belgian chef."
    "If you could only learn modesty, we could do great things together." "That statement of attempting greatness seems far from modest to me."
    Enrique was enjoying the sparkle of witnessing beauty with depth. How could this woman be unattached? Or was she? He mused.

    As if she could read his thoughts, she responded. "You wonder if theres someone special in my life?"

    "Not really. I was just guessing how long it took you to chose that fantastic mini youre wearing."
    "Enrique, I am pleased to notice that, you dont lie very well."
    "Kate, 1 am as pleased to confess that, youre absolutely right."

    They drove to Casa Xo?ín where Felipe, the maitre d greeted them and conversed in Galician with Enrique, as he led them to their table. Felipe, elegantly prevented new customers from mispronouncing the name of the restaurant, by explaining that in the Middle Ages, the letter x waspronounced as sh and now as h. He was spared that chore, with customers like Enrique.

    "I didnt know you spoke Galician."
    "Maybe you should make it a project to know me."
    "Tell me Enrique, have we established our comfort zones or shall we continue to banter?"
    "What on earth do you mean?" Enrique asked with a staged sense of surprise and a roguish smile.
    "You know quite well what I mean Dr. Lugo," she affirmed playfully with emphasis on the word doctor.
    "Kate, Ill admit to you that, as worldly as I fancy myself to be, your brilliance and striking beauty keep me a bit off balance." Enrique responded in earnest to demonstrate he was not taking her lightly.
    "I would not be wrong in assuming that, I am not the first learned blonde you have wined and dined?"
    "No Kate, youre not, but you are the first woman in a long time, who could reach a part of me that I thought was well protected."
    "And that part would be...?"
    "Its too early to disclose. Weve just begun to compress time," he said in an attempt to regain emotional safety.

    Before she could respond, Roi, the sommelier arrived and Enrique ordered a bottle of Bacvs Dei 82.
    "Unha selección excelente. Benvidos ó Casa Xo?ín, Doctor Lugo."
    "Gra?ºas, Roi."

    "Enrique, did you train the staff to rescue you so eloquently? Wait, dont answer! I guess Ive asked a rhetorical question; so tell me about the wine you ordered instead."

    Relieved by her graciousness, Enrique proceeded to explain like a proud professor.
    "Bacvs Dei is a uniquely fruity and light wine with undertones of raspberries made from the Menc?¡a grape. Unfortunately, wines from Celtic Spain are underexposed. I dared to assume that you would allow me to choose Galician wines for the evening."

    "Assume away, and well see how well you sail the vineyards." The dinner and wines were superb, and the conversation was enriched with intermittent physical touch to accentuate a point, when magic rules the evening. The topics discussed, ranged from his anthropological theory of love, to her studies in Tibetan Buddhism. Enrique could not recall a finer evening and expressed his sentiment to Kate, who responded with a most jovial smile.

    They drove back to her place in contented silence and, as they walked to her door, she looked up to a lit window on the second floor, and instinctively down to Enriques eyes. Their lips met with an anticipation that does not know tomorrow, but chooses to wait. He gently took her hands and kissed them with deliberate veneration.

    "Kate, if this was not a dream, I want to see you soon."
    "Dr. Lugo, this was definitely not a dream, and I want to see you sooner."

    He drove home with a pointed liveliness he had only experienced in transcendent states of meditation. During those deep levels of consciousness, personal horizons collapse and a sense of oneness suspends our mundane egos with indelible harmony.

    Monday mornings are always difficult for a writer. Our culture designates that first day, as a commencing challenge to be productive for a working week. When confronted with the essence of beauty, whatever form of beauty, we encounter a symbol that can only be sensed but never grasped. Poets are keenly aware of the elusiveness of beauty and craft words to explore its boundaries, rather than to attempt its definition. Now, Enrique had to draw from his acquired discipline, to create a place for Kate that would not derail his productive energy. But what if his ingenuity could only be directed toward her? He was painfully aware that, joy is a rich fuel that should be assimilated slowly with grace.

    That evening, Enrique was flying to New York for an interview on a leading television talk show that probed the effects of cultural trends on the quality of life. The show gained international recognition, because of its appeal to discerning viewers, independent of geographic boundaries. The concept of reaching an international audience with an American talk show was indefensible until its host Eric Connery created The Spin. Given the prototypical image of a successful television host, Mr. Connery was an unlikely candidate. He was erudite without arrogance, a debonair who adored women, a best-selling author with substance, and at the height of his creativity at sixty-seven. Even a prominent radical feminist conceded that, if she were to tolerate one man, Eric Connery would be her choice for his irreverent wit.

    Enrique and Eric became instant friends after they met a year earlier to tape their first dialogue for the premier of The Spin. Enrique was a younger version of Eric in his savvy and good looks. Yet, they each enjoyed a marked uniqueness that triggered admiration from the intellectually secure and, jealousy masked as contempt, from the selfrighteous. During their frequent dinners, they attempted to correct the ills of the world, enhancing their solutions with the best wines their favorite restaurants had to offer. Since Enrique lived in Miami and Eric in Manhattan, they alternated their dining encounters between the two cities. The author Trevanian has eloquently noted that, the excellence of restaurants in New York City is determined by the amount of abuse customers endure from their waiters. But Enrique and Eric had a solution for that snobbery. They would order a sequence of wines that were not available, even in the best cellars, bringing pretentious sommeliers to their knees.

    "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Spin. This morning I am pleased to have as my special guest Dr. Enrique Lugo, a dear friend and colleague, who shares in my search for the elusive concept we call culture and how it affects our lives. I am especially pleased because today we will discuss Dr. Lugos book-in-progress, The Man from Autumn. As our audience knows, Enrique Lugo is the best-selling author of Portals of Evil and The Anthropology of Self Esteem. One of the unique spins of our program is that we discuss books-in-progress from best selling authors."

    "Great to have you on again, Enrique."
    "My pleasure to be here."
    "Tell us, who is this ominous man from autumn?"
    "Well, I am not so sure hes supposed to be ominous, but I guess with the trouble hes given me to imagine him, I would agree with your description." The audience laughed and began to relax. "My main character, who at this time has a provisional name, is a man for one season. During the autumns of his mystical life, he explores how culture influences our relationships and the charting of our personal journey."
    "Can you expand on that?"
    "Sure. This man sees autumn metaphorically different than most of us. Rather than the standard symbolism of preparing to emotionally welcome winter, my the way Eric, why dont you name him on this show?" The audience applauded.
    "Sensible idea, and thanks for putting me on the spot. Anyway, I accept the challenge and I shall christen him...Breog?ín. " More applause from a receptive audience.
    "Why Breog?ín?"
    "Enrique, I ask the hard questions here."
    "Fair enough," responded Enrique as he began to address the audience. "Well, by no coincidence, your learned host knows that Breog?ín is considered the mythological father of Galicia and, given that my novels involve some aspect of Celtic Spain, I could not imagine a more fitting name for my protagonist."

    Eric smiled, responding to very enthusiastic applauds. "Now you see ladies and gentlemen, why Enrique is my most enjoyable guest?" More applause and laughter.

    "In this novel, one of the themes our newly christened Breog?ín probes, is the cultural variables that trigger bonding between two people, and how the personal histories they bring to their union compel them to evolve. I segment the process into attracting, engaging and embracing. To attract, simply requires triggering inquisitive interest. Engaging, goes farther and demands aesthetic compatibility. And embracing, transcends the personal horizons of each participant, and merges the best histories they assimilate from the collective wisdom of their respective cultures."

    "Enrique, why did you develop your theory within a mystical theme?"

    "Well, I was thinking of the modern mystics, who can expand the cultural horizons of fear, that drain our power to accept joy as our intrinsic right. The fear of joy has many cultural masks, but it takes a mystics probe into darkness to conquer it and show others the way."

    Eric smiled with delight, as he realized Enrique had withheld this information from their dinner conversations to surprise him on this interview.

    "In my research for this book, I studied people who defied the conventional cultural parameters so I could identify the more elusive but enduring rudiments of love, will, evil and other fundamental forces that infuse the private journey of self."

    "By conventional do you mean compliance with norms at the expense of joy?" Eric asked, to focus the audience on Enriques train of thought.

    "Precisely. By delineating what I call the horizons of convention, we can identify subtleties that are more salient in those who defy the cultural constraints that affect their relationships, their worthiness and even their health. Our man Breog?ín, views autumn as the allegorical foundation for his quest."
    "Ladies and gentlemen, I cant wait to read Enriques book. But without giving it all away, please expand on your unconventional sense of autumn."
    "Eric, I think I can do that without losing probable sales." The audience applauded with laughter and anticipatory nods.
    "Breog?ín is a man for one season, but by transcending the obvious interpretations our culture makes of autumn, he finds proclivities in the early stages of intimacy that affect the quality of relationships and longevity. As we grow older, we begin to acquiesce to the age horizons set by our culture. When you are thirty your interpretations of what you confront in life and what you consider possible in your future are quite different than when you are sixty. Just as autumn is a season that can flavor our emotional experiences, growing older is affected by how we perceive stages of life that our culture partitions into yearly segments."
    "Creative concept. Can you give us a practical example of your theory?"
    "Certainly. Going back to the age factor, if you drive a small sports car and your back hurts as you step out, a thirty year old may decide to take a yoga class to correct the problem, while a sixty year old may conclude that its time for a bigger car. The attribution for the pain in the younger person leads to corrective action without giving up pleasure, whereas the decision to end the enjoyment of a sports car by the older person, affects quality of life and precludes corrective action. I would even venture to say that the older person may not only get rid of the sports car, but perhaps also seek pain medication and muscle relaxants to endorse the limitation.
    "You see, just as seasons affect our external behavior, cultures shape our internal beliefs. The cultural parameters of aging, aesthetics and health, influence the interpretations we make of our experiences in each of those areas. Those interpretations strongly impact the quality of our lives."
    "Enrique, as you well know, although I am sixty-seven, I drive a Ferrari Testarossa and I practice
    Qi Gong." The audience roared with laughter and Eric brought the show to an end with flawless timing.

    The host and his friend drove to their usual tapas bar for a light lunch in the elegant Murray Hill neighborhood of East Manhattan. Eric wanted to discuss Enriques attraction to Kate Holland.
    "You know Eric, at this time there is little to tell. A striking woman with a remarkable mind who lives with her adopted family, as she calls her domestic help, in a Brickell Avenue mansion apparently without romance in her life. During dinner she told me she defended her doctoral thesis under Robert Kerman at Columbia University when she was twenty-five. Professor Kerman is an eminent scholar of Tibetan Buddhism and Tara Kermans dad. Kate and Tara are friends, so you can just imagine the aesthetic energy that emanates when those two get together."
    "The actress Tara Kerman?"
    "None other."
    "Enrique, you may recall your comment that Tara Kerman lives up to the beauty of her Tibetan goddess namesake, so when you speak of Kate as her equal I can imagine you must be in a state of euphoria."
    "Thats putting it mildly. In the short time that you and I have been friends you know more about my private self than most. I can tell you that although I have little faith in the benign outcome of relations, I am smitten with Kate."
    "In that case, how would your Breog?ín handle this quandary youve created? Before you answer; remember that, if youre not careful, you may become the man from autumn."
    "Eric, youre a consummate smart ass."

    The two friends laughed in unison as they walked out of the tapas bar, feeling the pleasing effects of the fine wines reaching their neural receptors. They parted with a Galician abrazo and Enrique left in a studio limo for La Guardia to catch a plane back to Miami.

    Unable to shake Connerys words out of his mind, Enrique bemused: Eric might have a point. I could be living my own novel, so I have to be very careful not to sabotage the plot. The South Beach surfer is no longer a wounded child.

    A fiction writer should not project too much of self into the main character, but Enrique thought that in the course of developing Breog?ín he could reach layers of his own psyche that would not be readily available through direct introspection. Exploring a character that appears to be separate from Self could bypass the usual defense mechanisms that block access to the shadow. The Swiss psychiatrist, Carl lung, defined the shadow as a layer of Self so dreaded that it could only be brought to consciousness through archetypal interpretations.

    "Good morning Kate, this is Enrique."
    "Hi, I am glad you called because I am having lunch at this new Caf?® Ramah restaurant. I am told it serves excellent Indian food and I wondered if youd like to join me?"
    "Wonder no longer. You have astounding intuition. I was actually calling you for the same reason but without a restaurant in mind. Caf?® Ramah sounds great. When shall I pick you up?"
    "No, lets meet there instead. I have an Aikido class near by and it would be easier to go from there".
    "You take Aikido?"
    "Actually, I teach it."
    "So I am having lunch with a martial arts diva?"
    "Lucky you." Kate responded with a quick laugh and agreed to meet at 11 :30 a.m.

    Enrique arrived a few minutes early to clear his thoughts. He noticed how the ritualistic lunch crowd that makes or breaks a restaurant was beginning to fill the place.

    Kate walked to the table wearing fitted jeans accentuating her long sculpted legs and a lavender thin linen blouse that complemented sensuality with fashion. Her hair was combed back still wet from a recent shower and her face expressed the triumphant glow of an athlete who had pushed her physical boundaries with great skill. Enrique greeted her with a kiss and immediately wondered if that level of intimacy was acceptable to her in public. She smiled and gently held his hand showing stylish approval.

    "Hows my ninja?"
    "Your ninja is doing great. Although.. .as you know, Dr. Lugo, Ninjutsu, which is the style of ninjas, is different from Aikido", Kate explained with a playful smile.
    "Of course I was aware of that, but I just love to see how delightful you look when you correct me. Especially, the Dr. Lugo part tells me I am about to be put in my place." They laughed and looked into each others eyes with the same fascination they shared during their dinner at Casa Xo?ín.
    "Tell me more about the theory of compression youre developing in your novel?"
    "Ah, so the man from autumn is already competing for your attention. What if you like him more than me?" Enrique smiled and waited for her wit to unfold.
    "If the man from autumn is the better man, how could I resist? I would have to follow him to the end of compressed time", Kate quipped with a playful grin.
    "I dont want to entertain that possibility, but I would reluctantly congratulate Breog?ín for besting me."

    As soon as Enrique finished his sentence, he sensed a surrealistic vestige of what Eric Connery had prophetically warned him could happen. For a brief moment, he actually felt jealousy toward the character he had created! Ironically, the character Breog?ín was conceived to transcend the limitations of the author Enrique. He realized how the piercing introspection needed to craft fiction, obliges writers to walk a thin line between divine creativity and the shadows of hell.

    They ordered the specialty of the house consisting of masala dosa, sambhar and hot chai. A typical Southern Indian meal of crepes with herbs, potatoes and onions, vegetable soup, and tea brewed with milk and spices.

    "Kate, youve heard of Eric Connerys talk show, The Spin?"
    "Of course, I saw him interview this very charming Spanish author."
    "You saw the show? Youre so stealth. Did Professor Kerman teach you that Eastern quality or was it your Aikido master?"

    Kate smiled approvingly and continued, "Mr. Connery asked you some very insightful questions."
    "Yes, Eric is a stellar interviewer. He takes the concept of Occams razor to higher planes every time we discuss my theories. But getting back to your question, in my theory of time compression I argue that the degree of disclosure in intimate communication is determined by cultural predispositions. That alone is not such a novel concept. What I find most baffling is that, time can be compressed to disclose intimacy vertically or horizontally"
    "What does that mean?"
    "Horizontal compression involves instant intimacy with different people without commitment to go deep with anyone person. There is shallowness in the interaction by indiscriminately sharing private behavior without bonding. The person disclosing appears to be very open when in fact the communication lacks exclusivity and depth. Intimate feelings are revealed without intention to invest in the relationship.
    "In vertical compression, there is exclusivity, depth and commitment. Words have meaning and emotions have substance. I believe that authentic intimacy can only grow by going inward. I guess what I am saying is that horizontal compression focuses on quantity whereas vertical compression seeks quality."
    "I am intrigued with your theory. No, let me rephrase that; I love it."
    "Thank you, Kate. Youre very kind." Enrique was pleasantly surprised by her reaction to his work.
    "Enrique, I am going to ask you a personal question."
    "Please do."
    "I am very impressed with your views and I wonder if pain has been your teacher?"
    "Fair enough, Ill answer your question. Pain is certainly one of the teachers I accept with as much grace as I can muster, but I am more interested in learning from joy. Ill admit that in my book, I am exploring the inspiring characteristics of joy but more importantly, I am investing in my own development. I find that pain teaches in order to understand and overcome suffering. Sometimes when I learn from a painful experience I sense a forlorn sweetness that can melt my heart. I believe that happens when we elevate our humanness in times of turbulence."
    "And what happens when you learn from joy?"
    "Ah, joy is more complicated because it compels us to encounter our fear of loss."
    "Our fear of loss?" Kate asked with visible curiosity.
    "Yes, when we have a learning occurrence where joy is our teacher, we feel very alive and exhilarated but at the same time this powerful emotion triggers a flash of our mortality and our need to invite others into a space that can only be witnessed from within. During joy we want to jump out of our skins and embrace what I call unitive affiliation: a need to bring those we love into that revered space. In that instance, we become painfully aware of our physical boundaries and the fleeting remnants of our bliss.
    "For those reasons, joy is a very feared emotion. Were shaken from our illusion of separateness and yet when we taste oneness during unitive affiliation, were confronted with our greatest fear."

    Kate was transfixed - lost in a labyrinth Enrique had crafted with his words. She thought of Aristophanes dictum by words the mind is winged and as if corning out of a vivid dream, she asked the next question with reluctant anticipation.
    "And what is our greatest fear, Enrique?"

    He took a deep breath, looked into her eyes, and spoke with the discomfort of a doctor giving a patient a bleak prognosis.
    "Entering our divinity. Knowing that when we look with our physical eyes our oneness is limited by the boundaries of our bodies. Accepting that once we learn that our power lies within, we can no longer blame external hurdles for failing to live our dreams. Stepping into our divinity is the most decisive task of our journey. Yet, most of us never attempt it and few of us succeed when we try."
    "Please forgive me for asking the obvious Enrique, but do you think the fear of accepting our personal power is greater than our need for joy?"
    "Thats a profound question Ive pondered for years. I finally had to ask Breog?ín for his opinion," Enrique answered with a devilish smile that lifted the somber mood. "And... Breog?ín, being more evolved than I, explained it in a very haunting manner."
    "Tell me what he said Enrique, and I promise Ill resist his charm."

    Kate had a remarkable ability to turn a conversation from existential heaviness to playful reflection. She danced the shift of moods with Enrique so flawlessly that, he was able to sense how time could truly be compressed, to experience glimpses of glorious love in defiance of conventional wisdom. Kate stirred him to live his theory.

    "Ok, Ill tell you what Breogan had to say. Love is a universal force that we encapsulate within time and space. But since joy is the byproduct of love, we are seduced by the effect rather than the expression. Joy is the consequence of love and living our essence is love. The most intriguing part of our quest is that when we begin to feel the joy of love, we immediately fear losing the gift. When the fear emerges, it removes us from the process of loving and we experience the loss of something that is inherently ours. The loss is an illusion we create when we separate what we feel from what we are. That flaw in transcendental judgment happens when we try to hold on to what cannot be taken from us."

    Enrique felt he was paraphrasing a close friend. As he explained his theory to Kate through Breog?ín, he was astonished at the clarity he could achieve by depersonalizing his own beliefs through a character that was becoming increasingly more vivid in his life.

    Throughout their spirited conversation they hardly ate, but seemed nourished by the topic and several cups of hot chai, inconspicuously served by their Indian waiter. They left the restaurant and went for a walk without words on Ocean Drive. Perhaps experiencing thoughts for food as a fitting reversal of the better-known adage.

    "Kate, did you know this is my neighborhood? Actually, were half a block from my home."
    "No, I didnt know you lived in Miami Beach."

    "How can I invite you over for a glass of wine

The Man From Autumn

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