The Spirit Lovers – Chapter Eight: Martin’s return
29 November 2017
Martin wakes up in his hotel room with a strange feeling of not knowing where he is and of having been separated from something he cared about dearly without knowing what it was. His head feels heavy and his eyes feel sore. He gingerly puts a foot down to step off the bed and his head reels. It takes him a few minutes to adjust and be able to put the other foot down and stand up without feeling queasy. He takes in his surroundings as calmly as he can but cannot remember how he had come here. He slowly figures out it is a hotel room and as he goes to the phone to start dialing he remembers that he had left his wife at home after their quarrel and headed towards this hotel.
He dials the number of his wife, not realising that he has forgotten all about his true love.
Helga, good morning. I wanted to say I was sorry. I don’t know what came over me
What do you mean it took me six months to come to that conclusion? I have only been away for a couple of months.
I am not sure what you mean by that but I don’t remember what happened in those other four months. Can I come home?
Rita thinks back to how you had described the scene to her and how you had realised from the smile of relief on Martin’s face that his wife seems to have forgiven him. She remembers you describing how you watched him starting to pack his suitcase before you orbed back to where I was standing with her trying to console her as she wept Martin’s disappearance. She wonders why the couple of nights that they had passed together in that alternate reality appeared as a distorsion of several months in this reality. She feels a surge in her heart like every time she thinks about Martin but tries to overcome it. Tears well in her eyes and she bites her lip trying to contain them before they spill over her cheeks profusely.
Martin winces while carrying the suitcase down. It seems like something is wrong within his ribcage and he feels like a strain in his heart. He continues carrying the suitcase down and asks the receptionist for help with the other larger suitcases left upstairs. He also enquires if there is a doctor as he is not feeling well. The receptionist enquires and soon a doctor is made available to Martin who by now is convinced that he might be suffering a heart attack as the pain grows in his chest. The doctor who examines him tells him that he finds nothing wrong with his heartbeats nor anything else but that to be on the safer side he should go to the hospital.
Martin rings his wife again to inform her of the news and sets out to the nearest hospital in the hotel’s chauffeured car. When he reaches the hospital, they too find nothing wrong with him but decide to keep him under observation for the day. Martin looks at his wife who has come and realises that he is relieved she is with him but he feels nothing towards her now that she is here. He tries to reproduce the longing he had experienced that morning but it is not there. He wonders what made that change and why it is that he is not longing for her anymore. Is it because she gave in and came so easily to his side, he wonders.
Helga puts her lips softly against Martin’s a few tears falling from her eyes as she does so. Her lips freeze as she realises that he is not reciprocating. She pulls back noticing that he does not seem moved by her kiss and realises that he seems to be in the same frame of mind as when he left several months ago. He had mentioned an excursion he wanted to make to take time off from being with each other and to think about the future. Martin looks into Helga’s eyes and all he can feel is friendliness and gratitude that she came to be by his side.
You are a great woman, Helga, he says
I am your wife Martin
I know. I wish I could change things but somehow the magic is gone
Just this morning you were telling me you wanted to come home, you seemed to have rekindled that love you had for me
I’m sorry Helga. I felt like that this morning when I woke up but I don’t anymore
Martin does not tell Helga that he still feels that impression but simply not directed towards her. He prefers not telling her as he does not wish to hurt her but also because he would be at a loss trying to explain towards whom he has these feelings. He stands up and decides to discharge himself from the hospital as they can find nothing wrong
Rita wipes away the tears from her face and decides to start her mission at the House of Love. She opens the doors to the visitors and graciously answers all their questions about the great love between Nina and Harold the rock star. As honeymooners and couples pass by admiring the various emblems of love she feels her heart warm up to them as she can feel the love surging from them and towards her, pacifying her.
Martin accompanies Helga home and goes through his things. He realises he cannot stay with Helga and feels sorry for having given her false hopes again. He wants to understand more about himself and why he is feeling so forlorn for a love he cannot identify. He knows that his therapist is not going to help him much because he only asks questions and Martin knows that he does not have the answers to any of the questions that the therapist would probably ask. While he is going through his things, he sees a brochure for a place called House of Love and notices that he had circled the address and scribbled down a series of dates and a phone number. He calls the phone number and a person responds that it is an agency that organises honeymoon vacations as well as retreats for couples in a place called the House of Love.
Martin parks his car outside the place called the House of Love and realises it seems as familiar as the agency had seemed. He rings the bell and is welcomed by a butler who takes his coat and tells him that he is a bit early but the House of Love never rejects visitors so he would be welcome to stay in the library while the lady of the house gets ready for visitors. After a short while, Rita goes into the library to welcome the first visitors and comes face to face with Martin.
Martin! She exclaims
I know you, he answers
How did you get here
I know you. Who are you?
Rita throws her arms around him and in that instant all the other essences of Martin gather again within him and he knows. He turns her face slowly towards him and kisses her with all of his longing realising this was the woman he had been longing for when he woke up in that hotel room.
I know you from before Time, he says
I love you from beyond Time, beyond doubt…
He kisses her and the visitors who start pouring into the House of Love start clapping. Some japanese visitors among them take photographs or videos thinking that this is a performance which is part of the exhibition. You and I look at each other with delight though we know that this will definitely be sending some more ripples across time.