Short Story: In Pursuit of Oneness?

Source. Pexels. Credit: Polina Kovalev. B&W version.

by Sue DeGregorio-Rosen, RN, CLNC, Contributing Editor


I sat in the local pastry shop and waited, excited to see you.  You, still so handsome, we embraced.  I could sense your excitement, too, and in a weird way it felt like our first introduction.   It had been way too long since we had been together.

We both ordered lattes and croissants and talked about everything that we missed in each other and in our new lives.  We talked about life post covid and living in the NY-metro area, how much life had changed.

” It feels almost like I remember feeling after 9/11″ you told me.

“Are you happy where you are in life now, regardless?” I asked.

“I would like to be, but in the world of romance and sex, it’s kind of frustrating.  And seeing you, now, well……I miss you…”

You had that look of sincerity to find the right words for where we were in life.

“You were the one person that could touch my soul, not just as lovers, but as friends.  I miss that.”

I got it. I understood, and I felt some deep longing to reconnect. The coffee latte was strong, and soothing, and so we talked.

“You first, I want to hear about how you feel.”

“I miss you, too.  I miss us.”

I told you that because I did miss that “us”, and that I also knew when we were together that we had very different desires about any future we would dream of having together.  We were in some sense, polar opposites.  You wanted a family, and I wasn’t ready to commit. You moved forward, very quickly, while I lived in the here and now.

“And so, my love, you moved on. My heart was broken.”

“I’m so sorry.”

And as you looked away, I got up to leave.

As I walked to my car to begin my drive home, I was deep in thought.  It was me who took refuge in an awakening heart, a rush of emotion and moving to my mind. Love shows up when we least expect it, and I was not intentionally seeking refuge in a love that could not be. We take refuge in the truth of who we are.

I recalled this was my first teaching from the Buddha, and the nature of that becomes reality. The second refuge was the dharma, dharma means truth, the law of nature. We take refuge in that nature and awaken to our true nature and our natural wisdom and our compassion.

The third refuge is sangha. As I understand it, during Buddha’s life he taught that the community of monks and nuns was an important support on the path to spiritual awakening and spiritual freedom.

Was it time to open my heart to you, one more time?  Could you follow my way or respect my boundaries?  I could not answer.

My phone rings, from a restricted number.

“Bon jour”

Why are you answering in French…….voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?

That’s why you called?


No, I don’t want to sleep with you tonight.

But you thought about it?

Breathe, I told myself, concentrate on the breath.  Inhale, deep exhale.

I am at your door, will you let me in?

Because one basic spiritual practice is to be present, honest and kind relative to any circumstance.  Of course, I let you in.

You told me to be whoever I wanted to be, just be with you.  Forget, I have trained myself with the masters to be present in the moment……here was the moment, so try to forget.

I still loved you, with an awareness and awakening……..but I knew my nature, what I had studied and had learned to love life with an awareness that could not be separated, and that in the right circumstances could be the right way to feel real life. I shared all of this with you as you ran your fingers down my face. I wanted you to experience a different reality.

And so, you kissed me, long and hard as we began to take our clothes off, you lifted me up and carried me to my bedroom.  Our lovemaking was fast and furious, yet it was long and sweet, as you kissed every inch of my naked body.  In those moments I felt a beauty and pleasure that had stayed hidden.  When I opened my legs and felt your fingers enter slowly, you brought me to an orgasmic thirst that wanted more.  I felt myself shiver when you entered me with your hardness that was wonderful and mad. We made love for hours, trying every position that allowed us both to experience more until we peaked from the intensity of human delight in what felt like a tidal wave of awe.

What I shared with you was a vulnerability, not to escape from myself or from you, but to come back to us to understand what was going on.  What was this?

What are you thinking? you asked.

I don’t think I am thinking, I think I am seeing.

And what do you see?

I thought for a moment as I stared into your eyes in search of your soul. And for some reason, that was an exhausting moment.

I see you. I see the man that just made love to me with such urgency and passion, were you just that horny?

You laughed at me and reminded me that I was a more than eager participant.

Are you that sexually aroused?

Indeed, I was. I was insatiable, yet everything in my world that day had taken on a Zen-like quality of a bare presence.  I had become accustomed to living in the moment, in a cozy world of symbols that I enjoyed navigating and I wanted you to become present.

Why not feel this way, always, I asked. I felt your presence as I mounted you.

Let’s explore that question…without limitation…I whispered.