THE ASCENT CHAPTER TEN

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CHAPTER TEN

 

A NEW GIRLFRIEND

She’s beautiful, and therefore to be wooed; She is woman, and therefore to be won[1]                                                              William Shakespeare

Before they left, I asked Eli what he meant when he said: Oh, and why not, since it seemed a curious response. Was there someone he knew of he wasn’t telling me about? The question begged to be answered. Rather than saying anything more, he just smiled at me, got up, and walked out the door with Mo.

The suspense continued to linger in my mind when they arrived at the cabin the following morning. Even before I had a chance to bring the subject up, Eli said: ‘We sense there’s something you wish to talk about, James.

‘I don’t know, maybe… guess it depends. Well okay, I admit, it would be  nice to meet a few lassies… so noticeable absent up here.’

‘What do you think, Mo? James appears a bit lonely.’

‘I’m just fine,’ I said. All I was saying is…’

‘Probably your right, Mo said before going out the door to split more firewood. ‘Just look at him, sitting forlornly in the corner. Such a pity; so suave, debonair, and smart… though probably not as smart as he thinks he is. It must be frustrating for him to not find the woman he’s looking for, be it here, there or anywhere.’

‘Perhaps he needs some cheering up, Eli said. A few good laughs might do him good.’

‘I don’t find talking over me all that funny,’ I said.

‘That’s why it would be for him to laugh with us instead of feeling we’re laughing at him,’ Mo said. ‘I think that’s why the Buddha always had such a big goofy grin on his face all the time. In his lightness of being, he was en-lighten-ed an so he never took things seriously. Instead, he found everything amusing.’

‘I’m not sure how amused he would be in my situation, even if he was enlightened. Although, you might be partly right; I remember a pretty young lassie once told me I was too serious and that she would prefer a man with more humour and less wit. That stung! Up until then, I assumed she admired my sharp wit.’

‘She probably did, but wit can get tiresome. It might have impressed her at first because it appeared clever; still, it doesn’t have the same lasting appeal as humour. Didn’t someone once say that if you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything?[2] Too bad the same can’t be said about wit; if it did, things might come easier, and you wouldn’t have to try so hard to impress women.

‘Which, of course, I do anyway, at least in bed,’ I said.

‘Then, for you, making an impression might be better than her laughter,’ Eli said, chuckling.’

‘That’s true,’ I said, ‘awe works better.

‘Good one, James… self-congratulory, but good. You know, most philosophers aren’t particularly known for their levity; are they? When was the last time you saw a philosopher do stand-up comedy?’

‘Not since George Carlin,’ I said. ‘Not that he was a philosopher, per se, yet his social commentary was often even more insightful, as it was also hilarious. In any case, you’re probably right, I need to lighten up more like you two comedians. I must say, you’ve given me plenty to laugh at, even if it was often at my expense.’

‘Indeed, we like to keep things light to offset our heavier discussions.’

‘Despite your antics, Eli, I’ll probably miss your off-beat humour when I return. Things aren’t always so jolly back home.’

‘In which case, would you be interested in us helping you find a beautiful young woman who would make you feel happy.’

‘More humour, Eli? Where are you going to find someone like that when I, with my considerable charm, haven’t been able to find anyone even close to that? I’d say not bloody likely! Besides, no one can make me happy all the time.’

‘Probably not,’ he said, ‘but that might have more to do with you.

‘Frankly, I’d prefer you not get too involved in my private affairs, even if they amuse you.’

‘That may be, but from what we understand, things haven’t been much of a romp in the playpen lately, have they? So what if we found you a woman who would make you so deliriously happy that you’d have to medicate yourself each day before going out the door. Unlike some of your other acquaintences, she wouldn’t give you any grief, at least no more than you deserve.’  

‘Okay, I’ll admit I’ve had a few setbacks with women walking out on me recently, still, that’s nothing compared to their loss. Anyway, it wasn’t that much of a loss, considering how seldom they pitched in for food, rent and hydro. I must say, however, they each did their part in keeping me warm at night.’

‘So what else can you tell us? Remember, we’re your friends; you can tell us anything… we promise not to be scandalised.’

‘You already seem to know a lot more than you should.’  

‘Perhaps, but what do you say, do you want our help or not?’

‘If I believed you could find me this woman, I might.’  

‘Well, guess what, Cassanova? We already have.

‘Of course you have; so why haven’t you already told me about her?’

‘We didn’t wish to distract you from your coursework. I’m sure you wouldn’t have wanted to lose your focus.

‘No, of course not; why woud I when I can sulk in loneliness and despair for the rest of my life?’

‘Well, we think there might still be some hope for you,’ he said with a laugh.

‘You’re making this all up; aren’t you… so what’s her name?’

‘I’ll ask Mo, perhaps he remembers.’

‘Say, Mo,’ Eli shouted out the door, ‘do you remember the name of that woman we were discussing the other day.’

‘What woman?’

‘You know… the one we thought might be a good fit for James. It appears Miss Lonely Hearts[3] here wants to know. Do you recall her name?’ 

This was sounding more like another one of Eli’s setups. I wasn’t sure if Mo was complicit in this mischief since he seemed more concerned with his firewood than paying attention to us.

‘Let me think,’ he said as he stepped inside with an armful of split wood. ‘Do you recall which side she was on?’

‘If I’m not mistaken, I think perhaps she’s mostly on the earth side, Eli said, which would be good for James… if and when he returns there.’

‘Ha,’ Mo laughed. ‘I’m not sure James can wait that long.’

‘You’re probably right,’ Eli said. ‘Maybe we need to find him someone closer by, perhaps one of those mountain nymphs he likes to fantasize about.

‘Isnt there one that comes by here at night?’ Mo asked. ‘I think she might have a crush on James.’

‘No, no, not her,’ Eli said. ‘He’s not nearly ready for her… not even close. Until then, he’ll just have to wait for someone else.’

‘You’re right,’ Mo said. ‘Likely, he wouldn’t know what to do with her, even if she showed up in his loft some night. In fact, he might not even be able to see her so he's probably going to need someone more down to earth... so to speak.'

‘Which means,’ Eli said, ‘we’ll have to go to London to make arrangements for him to meet this other one we were discussing. What was her name again?’

‘Carry on if you like,’ I said, ‘but I’m not about to be taken in with this little mind game of yours.’

‘Ah, now I remember who we were talking about,’ Mo said. ‘The one who lives just a few miles away from his flat. Indeed, a very charming lassie she is. Possibly he might have even bumped into her at the deli coffee shop below his flat.

‘Wouldn’t that be a coincidence?’ El said. ‘Still, I’m a bit concerned James might be a bit much for her. What do you think? Such a lovely smile and disposition… it would be a shame if he upset her.’

‘I hope you two are enjoying your charade,’ I said. ‘But let’s be realistic, even if I were to believe you, no woman on earth, lovely or not, would pay any attention to me in my current state of existence... or lack thereof. I mean, what would I say if I met her – Boo?’

‘Why not?’ Eli asked, chuckling. ‘She probably wouldn’t be the first woman you scared off. If you like, however, we’ll see what we can do to set things up for you to meet her.’

‘Sure, go ahead, Eli. You seem to know all about setups.’

‘Considering how badly you got bashed about,’ he said, ‘I’m sure she would know how to make your body feel much better. Things might get dismal if you don’t have someone to get you back on your feet and dancing.’

‘I’m not sure my medical plan covers what you seem to be inferring.’

‘I think what Eli means is that your body will require plenty of rehabilitation after being discharged from the hospital. She might be able to help with that.’

‘I’m sure my body would be most grateful for whatever consolation this phantom woman has to offer, considering all the suffering it’s had to endure. So, if this woman actually exists; do you think she would give me massages too? You never know where that might lead.’

‘I’m not sure if she trained to be a masseuse,’ Eli said. ‘Regardless, I’m sure she would be excellent for James. Don’t you agree, Mo?’

‘Without a doubt, she would be a jolly prize for him… most consoling.’

‘Yes, that’s it,’ Eli said, ‘she could be James’ consolation prize.’  

‘Tell me you’re not just making this all up. Just how serious are you blokes?’

‘Oh, we’re serious, alright,’ Eli said; ‘still, we can’t be sure how serious she would be once your body wakes up.’

‘Then at least tell me something about her unless you’re up to something.’

‘Should we tell him,’ Eli asked, ‘or should we make him wait?’

‘It’s probably best if he waits,’ Mo said. ‘He might appreciate her more when he’s ready for a meaningful relationship instead of the kind he seems to think he needs.’

‘You’re proably right, Mo. It might be good for him to wait until he’s ready for a real relationship. Besides, if we give him his consolation prize now, he’d never graduate from Summit U.’

‘No, likely he wouldn’t,’ Mo said. ‘That’s why it might be best for him to wait.

‘Yes, it might be best that he wait for the woman of his dreams, Eli said.’

 ‘Woman of my dreams? I’m sure. Still, about now I might settle for almost any woman, in or out of my dreams. But let’s dispense with the bull. If you’re serious, tell me who she is… unless, of course, you’re running some dodgy escort service.

‘What’s the matter?’ Eli asked. ‘You don’t believe us?’

‘With you, Eli, I never know what to believe. It seems you’re having way too much fun milking this story. As much as I’d like her to be real, I suspect this is just another one of your pranks.

‘Oh, she’s real alright,’ he said. ‘More than a bouquet of freshly cut flowers by your hospital bedside, although she may bring you that too. Nevertheless, we don’t wish to force her on you if you’re not ready. You know, love can’t be love if there isn’t a choice.’

‘Yes, of course, Eli; I already know that.’

‘Perhaps we need to have another chin wag with James on the topic of love’s essence,’ Mo said, ‘since we haven’t yet covered that unit in his syllabus. I’m not sure he knows as much as he thinks. But then, most people on earth don’t have a clue what love means.’

‘That’s an excellent idea, Mo,’ Eli said. ‘It would be most apropos he understand what love means before getting too involved.’

‘Indubitably,’ Mo said, ‘for his sake or anyone else’s.’

‘Again, would you both please stop talking over me,’ I said, ‘love is no laughing matter. So if you don’t mind, let’s get serious.’

‘Then seriously, James, do you realise there’s nothing more mysterious in the universe than love?’ Mo asked.

‘I’m not sure if mysterious is the kind of love I have in mind.’ I said.

‘Perhaps not,’ he said, ‘but do you realise that love can’t be taught, only recognised. It’s never contained but contains. As I often say, it’s the very glue of the universe, the unity we all desire.’

‘Lovely metaphysics, Mo. Thank you for your edifying homily about the nature of love, but I’d prefer if you cut to the chase and tell about this, supposed woman of my dreams. And if you can’t, stop dangling her like a carrot before me.’

‘You know something, Mo,’ Eli said, ‘I’m getting the impression he wants to know about her now rather than later. Do you think we should tell him?’

‘I suppose he’s not likely going to stop pestering us until we do.’ Mo said. ‘It seems patience isn’t one of James’ greatest attributes.’

‘If you’re both done,’ I said, ‘just come clean and tell me once and for all what her name is. If you don’t, I’ll assume she doesn’t exist.’

‘Have you come up with anything yet, Mo?’ 

‘Does the name Julie ring a bell? he asked. ‘I think that might be close; what do you think?’

‘You might be right, Mo. Although, I think her real name might be more like Julianne but she might often go by Julie. Still, a name doesn’t tell me a lot, does it? So, is there anything else you can tell me about her?’

‘She’s a real prize.’ Eli said.

‘Yes, I think you’ve already suggested that… more than once.’

‘In fact, she’s more than just a prize; she’s a catch.’

‘Yes, of course, with women, there’s always a catch.’

‘I wonder if some say that about you too once you bait them. Just remember, your old catch and release approach won’t work on Julianne. Once she’s downstream, it will be too late… no second chances.’

‘Okay, but what makes her such a great catch… got any files on her; stats, pics… anything? Then we can see if she makes the shortlist. 

‘More importantly, Eli said, let me first ask you if you like challenges.’

‘Depends; what kind of challenges? If you mean high maintenance challenges, I’m not interested. I’ve already had my fair share of those. I just need to know what she looks like, then I’ll tell you if I’m interested.’

‘If you must know,’ Eli said, ‘she’s a delightful twenty-six-year-old woman; 126 pounds, five feet and seven inches. Since we’re aware of what you consider important, you’ll be pleased to hear that she’s exceptionally well sculpted for your viewing pleasure. Without any doubt, she would more than meet your aesthetic criteria and make you proud should you be so lucky to be with her. 

‘Besides the merits of her outward qualities, she’s particularly talented in singing. In the past, she even performed a couple of operatic scores with a choral group she belonged to. We understand she also studied drama and, at times, enjoys writing poetry when feeling melancholy. You should be aware, however, she is also skilled in less delicate arts which ought to be of some concern for you.’

‘Oh, really? Like what?’

‘Let’s just say you need to be prepared to cover your gonads should you ever cross her; her wicked jiu-jitsu moves could mean trouble,’ he said, chuckling. ‘But at least she’ll keep you on your toes – or possibly off your toes.’

‘So, how did a mild-mannered poetry writing, opera singer suddenly become so aggressive?’

‘After being assaulted by hooligans near Hyde Park, she decided to do something about it instead of remaining a victim for the rest of her life.  And so, she has perfected several lethal manoeuvres to defend herself. Just so you know, she might appear harmless, but if she wanted, she could have you sprawled out on the floor in no time… so be aware.’

‘Wait a minute, Eli. How is it that you suddenly know so much about her when a few moments ago you couldn’t even remember her name?’

‘Good question,’ he said. ‘Possibly we’re making it all up. How would you know unless you saw her for yourself?’ Do you want to?’

‘Of course, just as soon as I get back home, but for now, carry on. Just don’t embellish her; I hate being disappointed.’

‘So, what else do you wish to know?’ Eli asked.’

‘Everything.’

‘After mastering her martial arts classes, she has become very secure in herself and is no longer fearful about going out alone at night. With this new inner confidence, she has also become much more caring which is why she enjoys her chosen career. And guess what, James, you have had something to do with this.’

‘How’s that possible? I don’t even know her, so how could I with me being here and her being there?’

‘Perhaps you’re more charismatic than you realise, James. In fact, she’s been all over you.’

‘Ah, so I do know her! I don’t remember any Julianne, however, so she must not have given me her real name. Or was it just for a night?’

‘No,’ he said, ‘there have been several nights!’

‘Really… you don’t say! So, when will I get to see her again, so I know which one she was?’

‘To be clear,’ Mo said, ‘you haven’t actually met her, at least not formally. Although, you’ve spent plenty of time together. In fact, she knows your body well, perhaps more than you may wish. Or possibly, as you wish!’

‘But in this case, it’s her job!’ Eli said.

‘To know my body, you say… what is she, some backstreet prozzie off King’s Cross?’

‘Of course not! Your comatose body could hardly respond to any such services, even if there was an opportunity. Remember, it’s in a hospital.’

‘Let me explain,’ Mo said, ‘since Eli seems to enjoy holding out on you. Are you ready for this?’

‘Of course, it’s about time.’

‘Your consolation prize, Julianne, is a nurse at the hospital where your body is!’

‘Ah, so that’s it!’

‘In fact,’ he said, ‘if you were to ask your body, it would tell you Julianne is its favourite nurse. And why not, she is the one who spends the most time with it and the one most dedicated to your body’s survival?’

‘Love her already… so what else?’

‘She’s relatively new to her career and very idealistic, believing she can make a difference – a most committed health worker that’s willing to go beyond the call of duty.’

‘Especially for you,’ Eli said. ‘Well, maybe not you so much as for your body.’

‘That’s understandable,’ I said with a cocky grin. ‘Notwithstanding the wounds, I’m sure it still has some appeal.’

‘Or perhaps,’ Mo said, ‘she just feels sorry for it considering what you put it through. Nevertheless, there might be more to her attraction to you than just your body. She’s fascinated with what she’s heard about your remarkable climbing adventures in the Andes. Though she thinks you must be very courageous, she also suspects you must be a tad demented attempting such a daring expedition all alone. On this, we all agree.’

‘It’s interesting she wants to know all about me,’ I said. ‘Makes me feel good all over. So, what can you tell me about her past?’

‘From what we understand,’ Eli said, ‘she was a lively adolescent, although a bit misdirected at times by some of the friends she hung out with. Guess that’s normal enough; the lads wanted to be with her. So, what could she do? She didn’t want to disappoint.

‘After dropping out of her Fine Arts programme in music and theatre, she decided to study nursing, which dumbfounded her friends and disappointed her parents, who wanted her to be a musician. Compassion and healing won over drama, though I’m sure she can do that too when it suits her.  

 ‘Julianne has matured a lot over the last couple of years while working at the hospital. Lately, she seems to have adopted a much more reflective quality. Not to say she doesn’t like to have fun at parties with wine, laughter and plenty of admiring men where she often finds herself to be the centre of attention.

‘Increasingly, she has less time for vapid talk, preferring more meaningful discussions amid the frivolity. If she can’t find it there, she prefers to go home early to read an interesting book. Recently, her more contemplative life has put a bit of a strain on some of her more outgoing friendships.

‘And you know something else, James, she thinks about you… in fact, quite a lot. Of course, that’s not quite the same as saying she thinks a lot of you since she doesn’t know you. Nevertheless, you intrigue her in ways few men have, but not just for your extreme adventures.

‘After hearing how your body was discovered by a forestry helicopter that happened to be flying by, she believes it wasn’t by chance your body survived. She considers this to have been a miracle, and of course, she’s right about that too, more than she realises and far more than you realise.

‘During her youth, she faithfully attended Church of England services with her family. And now, on occasion, she attends morning chapel services in Westminster Abbey. Perhaps she goes there to pray for your healing and good fortune.’

‘If you call good fortune being in a coma for God knows how long. Or, worse, what if I have to live out the rest of my days as an invalid? I mean, how lucky is that?’

‘What’s happened to you has nothing to do with luck,’ Mo said; ‘it was providence, and it’s always present with you, more than you know or can understand. Not only are you fortunate; you’ve been offered an opportunity very few humans receive.’

‘Are you saying the Almighty set me up for a fall?’

‘Or perhaps, you did, without any intervention to avert what was bound to happen sooner or later! Remember, you awoke in a fitful panic at the end of your dream that infamous pub night, feeling you were about to fall off a mountain. And then, just a few months later, there you were, halfway around the world, ready to take your plunge. Do you have any idea what drew you to that unstable ledge across the chasm?’

‘I don’t know, maybe I was overconfident or careless; it just seemed it was the only way to get across. Even so, flying down the abyss wasn’t exactly what I planned when I booked my flight to Chile.’

‘Do you think maybe there was more going on than you were aware?’ he asked. ‘Is it possible the real you, the James within, intended to have this adventure across the chasm, even while dwelling in the Lowlands? I’m sure this could have occurred in any number of ways, yet at some conscious level, you chose the most direct approach to the Summit since that’s what’s most natural for you.’

‘Think about it,’ Eli said. ‘You were an accident waiting to happen. No companions with you, inadequate climbing gear, barely enough food or emergency provisions to survive an injury. Then, to top it all off, you selected the most difficult mountain you could find, not even bothering to tell anyone where you were going. Surely you must recognise your part in the setup, be it blame or credit, as you choose to believe.’

‘Fine, sure, okay… I suppose so. Perhaps I could have been better prepared. Let’s not talk about that, though; I’d prefer we get back to this fair lassie. I think you said she’s well-sculpted; perhaps you could elaborate on how well.’

‘Let’s just say there’s a whole lot more to her than what meets the eye,’ Mo said. ‘Since you’re an academic, presumably one with refined affections, I’m sure you’re more interested in what kind of music she enjoys, what books she reads and what topics she likes to discuss. Surely that means more to you than just her body.’

 ‘No, not really,’ I said. ‘Well, okay, sure, still, I was wondering if you have any pictures of her.’

‘I’m sure most men would find her more than acceptable,’ Eli said. But as Mo suggested earlier, don’t let her soft feminine body and religious devotion deceive you. She wouldn’t hesitate to give you a swift knee to your balls if she thinks you have it coming. The problem is, it’s always the woman’s prerogative to determine when retribution is warranted.’

‘Sounds high-spirited,’ I said.

‘Well yes,’ he said, ‘although, considering your current state of existence, that might not be so bad since you’re outwardly spiritual while she’s inwardly so. You’re both high-spirited, each in your own way. Of course, it’s always possible one of you could trip up the whole affair.’

‘It happens all the time on earth where there seems to be a propensity to sabotage relationships long before they have a chance to mature,’ Mo said. ‘That’s why, when you return, it will be important for you to live by your heart and not just your mind. That’s what she is learning to do.’

‘That’s because women are naturally more right-brained; but that’s not me. I’m more factual, evidence-based. Besides, I’m not sure I’m interested in having my mind go to mush, where I start writing poetry and painting butterflies. Even if I did, how would that teach me anything?’

‘Women have their ways, as does Julianne,’ Eli said.

‘Of course, they do,’ I said. ‘We all know that, however, I make my living using my mind, not my heart.’

‘That may be, although I’m sure Julianne could teach you. Without the heart, the mind always remains confused. Which might explain a lot about how things worked out as they did for you on earth.’

‘I’m sure,’ I said, not sounding convinced. ‘Still, I’m curious; neither of you told me how you both know so much about her.’

‘We have our connections,’ Mo said. ‘In this case, a very fine liaison well acquainted with her, about as reliable a source as you’ll find anywhere.’

‘Well then, maybe I need to meet this source to make sure she’s for real. So how do I make contact, some Ouija board?’ 

‘At this point,’ Eli said, ‘we prefer you don’t do anything until we have her permission; otherwise, you would just be wasting your time. Don’t worry, I suspect when the time comes, she will make contact with you. I’m sure you know how delicate these situations can be.’

‘Not really, but okay, that’s fine, keep your secrets if you must. Yet, I thought you said there are no secrets here.’

‘This is more about withholding information for your good, at least for a time.’

‘Well, to me, withholding information sounds much like the definition of what a secret means. So, what else did your classified source say about Julianne, if it’s not too big a secret?’

‘That’s about it,’ Mo said. ‘Just remember she’s a very straight-up, no-nonsense type, perhaps more than you’re accustomed to with some of your prior roommates.’

‘Let me add,’ Eli said, ‘so that you’re aware, she has little patience for anyone who puts on contrived airs.’

‘That’s good; I don’t have much patience for those types either; it’s not my style.’

‘Are you sure about that?’ Mo asked. ‘Have you ever tried to impress anyone with clever philosophical extracts and assorted witticisms while attending sophisticated dinner parties? Or have you ever bragged to a new date about your outstanding achievements, perhaps with a little name dropping thrown in for good measure?’

‘If I sometimes over-compensate for my humble beginnings, I do it to make an impression on those who can influence my future career. If I wish to advance, I’ve got to play the part since no one else is going to do it for me.’ 

‘We’re not implying there’s anything wrong with this,’ he said, ‘especially when you represent what you have achieved. We’re just saying such tactics may not work that well with Julianne if she thinks you’re conceited. She would prefer to be with your authentic sailor, even with the rough edges, than a pretentious academic snot.’

‘That’s fine,’ I said, ‘still, she needs to know she’s also with a Renaissance man, not just a sailor.’

‘If she needs to know anything,’ Eli said, ‘she will instinctively know. Remember, she’s a bit hyper-sensitive towards anyone who might evince cultivated affectations, especially after enduring several students in her drama class who got carried away playing their roles off-stage.

‘Ever since then, she seeks authenticity in others. That’s what she wants in a man. So, if you happen to find yourself around her, you might wish to stifle whatever personas you might have acquired; otherwise, she is going to see right through you.’[4]

‘I would never indulge in such blatant self-aggrandisement,’ I said with a snicker, ‘unless, of course, it helps snag some warm companionship for the night.’

‘Julianne is not the kind of woman you can snag,’ he said, ‘which is why we’re saying you might wish to remain your humble best if you wish to get anywhere with her. That’s the man that’s going to win her. So, if you hope to impress her, impress her by being genuine.

‘Even if you have to fake your authenticity,’ Eli said with a wry grin.

‘Not to say you shouldn’t be proud of your achievements and passionate dedication towards scholarship,’ Mo said. ‘Just don’t flaunt it. Julianne already knows quite a bit about you, so the less you say, the better. If you think you need to strut your stuff, she will consider you insecure, which is a huge turn-off for her. She much prefers unassuming, confident men. But then, what woman doesn’t?’

‘Are you saying I’m insecure?’

‘Why do you ask; unless…?’

‘I only am when I don’t get what I want.’

‘You mean like all the women who don’t get what they want?’ he asked.

‘Touché, I supposed that’s a fair comment. Nevertheless, what can you tell me about her family if not her?’

‘Her father was, and remains, a strong role model for her,’ Mo said. ‘An excellent man whose qualities she hopes to find in her man. He was regarded as an outstanding instructor and administrator in a Fine Arts Academy, much admired for his talent, leadership, and personal integrity.

‘Recently, he completed his career as Headmaster and is now retired with his wife in Melbourne, Australia, where they plan to spend their winters. In fact, Julianne’s mother is from Sydney. That’s where they met; at a musical symposium being held there.’

‘Sounds like a decent family,’ I said. ‘Although, she might be looking for a long time if she’s looking for someone as stalwart as her father. I’m not sure if I’m ready for such a role.’

‘Just relax and be who you are, and not someone else. Whether you realise it or not, you’re at your best when you don’t think you have anything to prove.’

‘That sounds too easy,’ I said.

‘Only because you’ve never tried it,’ Eli said. ‘But as we’ve already indicated, be prepared for a challenge. She comes armed, at the ready with several zingers. We understand that she once was on a date with an obnoxious graduate student in English literature. Having put up with enough of his conceit, she finally offered him a lesson in Shakespearean poetry he wouldn’t forget. God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.’[5]

‘That’s most clever… and witty,’ I said. ‘I like that; still, I might have fared better by quoting her another line from the same scene: To a nunnery, go.’[6]

‘And what if she did?’ Eli asked.

‘It would be most unfortunate for her.’

‘And possibly even more so for you,’ he said.

‘Possibly. The question remains whether Julianne would want to be in a relationship with me once she finds I have no money or tenure. I’ve never been rich, and at this rate, I doubt if I ever will be.’

‘I suppose it depends on how you define rich,’ Mo said. ‘Fortunately for you, money isn’t her primary criterion. She’s more interested in a man with inward substance than only outward substance.

‘Not to say, a little financial stability wouldn’t be of interest to her since she hopes to raise a family one day. For now, though, you have her full attention. As we said, she’s grown quite fond of you, or at least your body.’

‘Which is a good thing,’ Eli said, ‘considering you’re not exactly Mr Congeniality these days, are you?’

‘Perhaps that means she goes for the strong silent type,’ I said, chuckling.

‘Yes, very silent, yet in your case, not so strong,’ Mo said. ‘In any case, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know your more delicate organs remain intact, those you deem most vital. Provided your body survives, likely all parts will recover to full capacity.’

‘Most reassuring,’ I said, smiling; ‘if not, I might have to end it all by jumping back into that damned abyss again. Speaking of vital organs, what happened when I first arrived at the hospital; was Julianne there to greet me?’

‘She was among the first to attend to your body since she was assisting in Emergency that day,’ Mo said. ‘Most fortunately, the good doctors in Santiago had already performed an excellent job in stitching your wounded body together. There was little left to be done, except give your body more tests, then attach it to the life support machinery, insert the plug into the wall and hope for the best.’

‘Julianne immediately took to your body as her special restoration project. As the days passed, she made it her business to learn whatever she could about you, questioning every visitor who came to pay their last respects to what they assumed to be you. There’s no one in the hospital whose been more dedicated to your recovery than her. When no one is around, she even whispers words of encouragement into that vacant head of yours.’

‘I’m grateful for her attention,’ I said, ‘but a lot of good that will do if my body continues to atrophy.’

‘You might be surprised,’ Eli said. ‘Realise that each of the seventy trillion cells in your body, with their astonishing complexity, remain fully conscious, even while you’re here with us.

‘Specialised medical researchers are only beginning to understand and appreciate the significance of what goes on in the body’s micro-universes. Valves and vibratory sensors contained in each infinitesimal microtubule can, astonishingly, sense Julianne’s impassioned prayers.’

‘You probably won’t hear this from the medical community,’ Mo said, ‘nevertheless, it’s true. Whenever a healing intention is intonated towards it, a heightened resolve to heal occurs within each of these units. Each contains oxidised water molecules that bridge the dense material body with the subtle energy of spiritual consciousness.’

‘Still,’ Eli said, ‘some of the more open-minded scientists in biological sciences are beginning to suspect this, albeit tentatively. I predict this seemingly mysterious spirit-matter nexus in the microtubules will gain acceptance as evidence for cellular intelligence increases.

‘For now, though, there’s remains plenty of resistance to what might be going on besides biological processes.[7] Much of what happens in the cells has yet to be comprehended. When this becomes better understood, it could do much to shake up the old ossified paradigms of your medical establishment. Already, much is coming to light through cutting edge sciences. One example would be the emergence of Epigenetics.’[8]

‘Eli’s right,’ Mo said. ‘Though some intransigent scientists might fear metaphysical implications, others concede that there is more at work than previously considered possible. They’re finding there’s something extraordinary deeply embedded within the consciousness of each cell. What occurs in one cell is known instantly to all; a perfect example of how quantum entanglement functions within biology.

‘This ought to be obvious to more medical scientists, unfortunately, it remains largely outside their medicine chest. The tendency in traditional Western culture is to either glaze over these less established modalities or oppose them, even when results are evident. Unfortunately, that’s how the allopathic world operates; interested in knowing organisms from the outside in, instead of the inside out.’

‘I’m afraid, Mo, your views are at complete variance with the medical community’s approach to wellness. I suppose that’s your right, but what does this have to do with Ms Nightingale?’

‘I was about to make the point,’ he said, ‘not only is this dedicated young nurse very bright, she’s far more open-minded than most others in her profession… which is most fortunate for your body.

Even though she has been trained almost exclusively in allopathic pharmaceutical remedies, she suspects there is much more to healing than injecting and ingesting drugs.

'In all fairness, it ought to be recognised that there are many medical doctors who also acknowledge there are limitations to the old order and are beginning to recognise certain complementary approaches that are less substantiated.

‘Just so you know, Julianne has done some studying into other healing modalities such as acupuncture, homoeopathy, EFT and reflexology, which she considers less invasive and perhaps more effective in working with the body’s natural healing processes. She doesn’t say much about this at work because it may sound hokey to the more orthodox practitioners. No one wants to be ridiculed or censured.’

‘Most interesting, yet what does this have to with my body.’

‘Perhaps more than you, she or the doctors realise,’ Eli said. ‘Even without applying any alternative modalities, her spiritual connection with your body had much to do with your body’s survival and remarkable progress to date. This was especially so in the first couple of critical weeks when she spent hours with you each night even when off her shift.

‘Every fibre of your body senses her prayers when she projects her healing intent. Her loving kindness brings emotional strength and light to each microtubule that exists within each cell of your body’s organs.’

‘Wonderful,’ I said, ‘though I’m not sure I understand how her prayers could have a causal connection with my body – sounds psychosomatic to me.’

‘But if you’re not aware of her suggestions,’ Mo said, ‘how can it be psychosomatic? Still, it’s true your body’s cells are aware of her healing messages and touch. Because it’s a spiritual connection, they are naturally susceptible to healing suggestions.’

‘In fact, on a cellular level of consciousness, we suspect your body may occasionally get a special feel-good lift with her feminine touch,’ Eli said, smiling.

‘Well, whatever she does for my body, I hope I will remember how well she took care of me so I may express my gratitude when I return.’

‘If and when you do, I’m sure you will have an opportunity to do this.’

‘If I go back? So, how certain are you that my body is going to make it?’

‘Provided the doctors don’t lose patience by pulling the plug,’ Eli said, ‘we expect your body will eventually recover. With Julianne’s care, who knows, it could heal in considerably less time.

‘Imagine one fine evening while we’re sitting outside around the fire, with me playing my guitar, then suddenly – zap, you’re gone, just like that. No more James, at least not here.’

‘If that should happen, at least I’d get to meet Julianne to see how interested I might be in her. You say she looks great, but what if she doesn’t appeal to me? Not every man has the same tastes in women, you know.’

‘Perhaps you should be more concerned about what appeal you might have for her,’ Mo said. ‘Isn’t that what’s at stake?’

‘Okay, I get your point. So, what are the odds of us making this work?’

‘We have no way of knowing,’ he said. ‘How could we? It will depend on you as much as her. If we didn’t think they were favourable, we wouldn’t be wasting our time telling you about her.

‘In the past, you both viewed life differently, so if things are to work out, each will have to become more aligned with the other’s perspective. She approaches life from within, you from without. You may think this is just the result of left brain, right brain orientations, although there’s more to it than that.[9]’

‘In what way?’

‘You are more mind-oriented, and so you’re always examining and weighing evidence, creating complexities that might not have existed before. Of course, that’s what philosophers do. Unfortunately, when you over-analyse things, it’s easy to become suspicious and even cynical by looking for what’s not there.

That’s what annoys her, Eli said. By nature, she’s a trusting soul and so expects others to trust her. That’s another thing about Julianne, she has nothing to hide.’

‘I wish I could say the same.’ I said.

‘In the infinite field of consciousness,’ Mo said, ‘there are no secrets.’

‘Are you saying there’s someone out there in these higher realms that has access to all my private affairs?’

‘Why would they, the past is the past; only the present has meaning,’ he said. ‘Secrets are just an attempt to avoid guilt and judgment. Our domain knows nothing of these since whatever is of fear is the absence of love, so they can’t exist in higher planes; no more than darkness can exist in light.’

‘Is that so? Well, where I come from, there are plenty of dirty little secrets. Not so much mine, of course, but others.’

‘I’m sure,’ Eli said. ‘But where there are no secrets there’s no guilt, sin, or shame; all those qualities that fester and flourish in the world’s domain of fear. Best of all, there’s no one to judge you but yourself, not even God.’

‘Eli’s right,’ Mo said. ‘Only light and truth exist where unconditional love prevails. Whenever you fear, you already sense how much it contrasts with feelings of love.

‘That alone should tell you how much you don’t want to tolerate such feelings. They are toxic, that’s evident, however, few on earth seem to make the connection.  Source flows outwardly as a Ray of Creation through all dimensions, from the inner celestial realms to angels, humans, amoeba, rocks and all that is.’

‘I’m not sure if relationships are that simple.’ I said. ‘My experience is that they’re all filled with ambiguity and misunderstanding.’

‘Then consider the benefits of being in a relationship where it’s accepted you might not be as perfect as the other,’ Eli said. ‘Perspectives are only perspectives, but relationships require mutual understanding, awareness, and above all, respect.

‘Julianne may be perfect for you, but that doesn’t mean she needs to be perfect any more than you need to be perfect for her. Think of a relationship as being an opportunity to learn from the other while tempered in the crucible of life’s adversities.’

‘Oh, I like that, Eli: tempered in the crucible of life’s adversities. Excellent; sometimes you astound me with how well you can wax poetic when you want to.’

‘One might also say tempered in the crucible of love’s adversities,’ Mo said, ‘since love, when tested, becomes a crucible to temper one’s affections into an image of the divine.’

‘Unfortunately, that seems a bit too ideal,’ I said. ‘From what I can see, most relationships become tempered into a living hell. In fact, I’ve had a few of these myself. There is nothing noble or poetic about being with someone who vexes your soul, day and night, just as you might vex theirs. Not everyone is meant to be together.’

‘That’s evident,’ he said, ‘yet I don’t see that outcome with you and Julianne. Though we’re not assigned a crystal ball, it’s possible your relationship could become exemplary provided there was some conscious effort put into it.

‘Souls are too complex to make reliable predictions. As astute as Eli and I may be in judging character, we can only assess probabilities based on what we know, which isn’t that much. Nevertheless, we can see the trajectories of where things might be going. I suspect it might be entertaining to watch how things turn out from the sidelines.’

‘Instead of just another notch on your bedpost,’ Eli said, she deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. And though she may never harbour hard feelings towards you, your body might experience some hard feelings should your remarks be less than circumspect. Did we not mention she has a black belt?’

‘That’s fine; I like the feisty types,’ I said… ‘makes for energetic bed partners. They can get kinky at times.’

With that said, we decided to go outside for a hike along the summit ridge. I tried not to be too obvious about my interest in Julianne; still, I was increasing intrigued by this young woman. It seemed peculiar that my body knew her well even when I hadn’t even met her. Peculiar indeed, if not ironic, that it should receive her favour while I got none!

I had to laugh. Eli was right; I was envious of me, or at least of my body. Nothing to get too worked up over, at least not until I had a chance to do more due diligence… then I might want her for just me.

Fortunately, it wouldn’t be much longer before I’d have an opportunity to meet my angel of light, mercy, and sponge baths.

                                                                            

FOOTNOTES



[1] Henry V1, Act 5, Scene 2             
[2] In reference to The Comedy of Errors, one of Shakespeare’s first plays, also considered the shortest and most farcical.
[3] Marilyn Monroe, American Actress 1926-1962. 
[4] An allusion to a novel named Miss Lonely Hearts by Nathanael West, published in 1933.
[5] Considering what later occurred, this was a very prescient comment.
[6] Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1
[7] Hamlet’s words to his sister Ophelia, same scene as above
[8] Microtubules are one of the components of the cytoskeleton in the cell's cytoplasm.  One of their primary functions is to assist in cell division. Still, other functions that go far beyond this, where each contains ionised water molecules that some scientists believe register conscious impressions.
[9] Dr Bruce Lipton; developmental biologist and former professor of biology at Stanford, is one of the foremost pioneers in this new discipline. One of his first books, The Biology of Belief, provides an important description of the implications of what we are learning on this subject. This subject is discussed more thoroughly in Book Four of this narrative.
[10] The old paradigms of the brain lobe's limitations are being questioned as it becomes increasingly clear there’s nothing in the brain’s respective right/left hemispheres that can’t function in either.

 ______________________________________________________________  

PREVIOUS CHAPTERS IN ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE ASCENT


1. Prologue to the Series
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/prologue  

2. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter One
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/Elysiums-Passage-Chapter-One   

3. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Two
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/Elysiums-Passage-Chapter-Two  

4. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Three 
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/chapter-three   

5. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Four
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/chapter-four  

6. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Five
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/the-ascent-chapter-five    

7. Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Six
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/the-ascent-chapter-six  

8. Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Seven
https://digitalbloggers.com/book-reviews/the-ascent-chapter-seven 

9. Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Eight
http://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/the-ascent-chapter-eight 

10.  Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Nine 
https://digitalbloggers.com/book-reviews/the-ascent-chapter-nine  

SUMMARY OF

ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE SERIES
 

 

ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE ASCENT, the first in a series of five Elysium’s Passage narrations regarding a young British philosopher named James Phillips who finds himself living in an altered state of reality while still remaining on earth.  

After experiencing a near-fatal fall while climbing to the summit of a remote mountain in the Andes, James awakens in a new dimension. He soon encounters two mysterious beings who provide him with a very different perspective on the nature of his existence. Over the next year, before his body recovers from the coma, he is challenged to re-examine his understanding of life’s meaning and purpose far beyond anything he previously believed or could believe.

An engaging and sometime surreal adventure with intimations of impending romance, the narrative explores the most important questions about life, death, reality and our ultimate destiny.

The Plains of Elysium (Champs-Élysées) was described by Homer, Hesiod, Virgil and many other poets as the paradisiac afterlife realm reserved for heroes. As the title suggests, this is about a journey through a passage that leads towards Elysium’s exciting realm of existence.

Press review: https://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/05/prweb15515775.htm   

 

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PENDING PUBLICATIONS ELYSIUM’S PASSAGE SERIES

 
The ELYSIUM’S PASSAGE novel series is projected to be released as follows: 

 

THE ASCENT fall 2021

THE SUMMIT fall 2021 

QUANTUM LEAPS  2022

SURREAL ADVENTURES 2022 

MYSTICAL ROMANCE 2022

HE ELIXIR 2023

THE RETURN sometime in 2024

 

With the exception of the last novel in the series, the last three have been written but still require more editing before publication.

 

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READER REVIEWS
 

The following comments are among the first Amazon reviews of Elysium’s Passage: The Summit. All are Five Stars! Others reader reviews are included below, along with excerpts from two professional reviews. To read full reviews, go to READER REVIEWS on www.elysiumspassage.com

"Quietly, gently, and without imposition, the Author unfolds the pages, creating an intricate, interlocking bridge spanning the chasm between mind and heart. Renewing, refreshing, restoring. In my bereavement, it was vigil and light…"

"A delightful mix of fantasy, reality, conjecture and humour; Mr Meyers draws the reader into the story with a gentle narrative that captures the imagination, leaving one anxious to get to the next page drawing you into his exceptional world.”

“Excellently written with an exceedingly deep understanding of this world and the next. The characters are very well written and engaging. I can't wait to complete this book!"

“Takes the reader on both a philosophical and spiritual journey, a journey that at times is both disquieting and tranquil. James, a British Philosopher can be irreverent and caustic, traits that should have left me cringing, but instead made me laugh out loud. Elysium’s Passage is a fun, enlightening and remarkable book.”

“This is a masterful fantasy, becoming a real possibility, as the reader is drawn into the story. The Summit leaves you anxious for the next book in the series, yet also leaves you totally satisfied with the world you have just visited. Genius! An exciting, yet calming, experience that is not to be missed."

"There was hardly a page on which I did not find at least one sentence worthy of hi-lighting for future reference. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed the main character, James, whose personality and passionate verbal exchanges with the other characters, kept me coming back for more. I am reading the book for a second time while I wait for the next one in this series to be made available."

 “N.G. Meyers has clearly put a great deal of research and thought into what the afterlife may look like and I like his perspective. It’s an altogether welcoming and exciting vision. The book gives one a great deal to think about and a reassuring confidence that the end of our lives is truly the beginning of life in the next. I highly recommend it."

“The humour interjected into a serious discussion makes me laugh out loud. Totally unexpected....l may be in the presence of at least a master, if not a genius. A fair ride into reality... seeking that which is unseen, yet absolutely real.”

“An engaging story of adventure embracing man's deepest desire to search for meaning and purpose, N.G. Meyers takes the reader on an adventurous thought-provoking journey. This book has substance. It is a perfect blend of adventure and fantasy combined with spiritual philosophy. It ignited my imagination. The author magically weaves a good story laced with wit and humour together with deep philosophical wisdom. This book has it all!”

“An evolution in thought is triggered by many fresh philosophical themes which could inspire readers to re-think their reality and former ideologies that have dictated their lives… the author fires readers’ imaginations to view what could be possible when spirit vacates the body.”

“This is the book spiritual seekers have been waiting for. For me, it granted a great read as well as increased inspiration to live every day with a heightened sense of purpose. I highly recommend it.

“The Summit is capable of hooking readers and luring them to search for Book 2 to discover more about Dr. Philip’s surreal trek into the mysterious unknown universe. This thick book is well worth the read and to share…”

“Mind-blowing statements and speculation (‘…everyone is a non-physical thought form conceived in the Mind of God, preserved for all eternity because God’s thoughts never die…’). Many will find Meyers’ journey up the Mountain intriguing—and possibly even life-changing.” (BLUEINK REVIEW)

“In its effort to grapple with fundamental questions about the meaning of life, it raises questions that have echoed throughout the ages, including about where we come from, where we are going, who we are.”  (CLARION REVIEW)

For more READERS REVIEWS go to https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/reader-reviews. 

BLOG POSTINGS: https://digitalbloggers.com/articles/elysiumspassage or the Elysium's Passage website