Allow me, if you will, to give you something extraordinary to wrap your mind around at the end of the day …
Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks:
To be in love
Is to touch with a lighter hand.
In yourself you stretch, you are well.
You look at things
Through his eyes.
A cardinal is red.
A sky is blue.
Suddenly you know he knows too.
He is not there but
You know you are tasting together
The winter, or a light spring weather.
His hand to take your hand is overmuch.
Too much to bear.
You cannot look in his eyes
Because your pulse must not say
What must not be said.
Shuts a door-
Is not there_
Your arms are water.
And you are free
With a ghastly freedom.
You are the beautiful half
Of a golden hurt.
You remember and covet his mouth
To touch, to whisper on.
Oh when to declare
Is certain Death!
Oh when to apprize
Is to mesmerize,
To see fall down, the Column of Gold,
Into the commonest ash.
How far would you go to find your one true love … your soul mate … that “beautiful half of a golden hurt?” Would you travel half-way around the globe to a strange place on another continent? Would you abandon those who love you, risk everything you have or put your life in mortal danger? Would you follow your true love into the depths of Hell?
A reminder from Part One: About these two books Matheson has stated, “Somewhere in Time is the story of a love which transcends time, What Dreams May Come is the story of a love which transcends death…. I feel that they represent the best writing I have done in the novel form.”
In Richard Matheson’s book, What Dreams May Come, Chris, the main character dies suddenly in a car accident and unable to live with the grief of losing her beloved, the wife, Anne, commits suicide.
Love that transcends death …
Chris at first cannot accept that he is dead, and when he finally does, he becomes obsessed with the notion of getting back to his wife. After her death, he learns of her fate and decides to journey through Hell to be with her.
In the book, Albert tells Chris he does not have to risk the danger of descending into the bowels of hell to follow Anne. If he is willing to wait twenty-four years, he might have the opportunity to find and join her in another life.
His love for her is so strong that after a perilous journey, he gives up his chance to live in tranquility in Heaven and stays with Anne, who must pay for taking her own life.
The novel, What Dreams May Come, is significantly different from the film, in plot and the vision of the afterlife. The novel’s approach to the love story is less sentimental, its tone more scientific than fantastic.
There are far more references to Theosophical, New Age and paranormal beliefs. The author Richard Matheson claims in an introductory note that only the characters are fictional, and that most everything else is based on research (the book includes an extensive bibliography). Story elements that are not in the film include astral projection, telepathy, a séance, and the term “Summerland” a name for a simplified Heaven in Theosophy, and for Heaven in general in religions such as Wicca
The details of Chris’s life on Earth differ strongly in the novel. Only Chris and his wife (called Ann) die. Their children, who are grown rather than youngsters, remain alive, as minor characters. Chris and Ann are rural types rather than the urbanites portrayed in the film, and he is not a pediatrician, nor is she a painter. He’s a Hollywood screenwriter, and she has a variety of jobs.
The novel’s depiction of Hell is considerably more violent than in the film. Chris finds it difficult to move, breathe, or see, and he suffers physical torture at the hands of some inhabitants. He does not encounter ships, thunderstorms, fire, or the sea of human faces that he will walk upon in the film. Instead, he and Albert climb craggy cliffs and encounter such sights as a swarm of insects that attack people.
Ann is consigned to Hell for just 24 years, not eternity. At the end, which resembles an alternate version of the film but not the standard version, she escapes from Hell by being reincarnated, because she is not ready for Heaven.
Are Somewhere in Time and What Dreams May Come love stories or science fiction? Are they about time travel or past life regression or simply two sad tales of enduring love. Some do not believe in the afterlife, refute time travel, and believe that this life, this time, this world is all there is.
If all you believe is here and now …
how much of that reality would you surrender
To be in love for the first time …
the only time …
the last time?