He tried to picture himself living in an ideal world with the young woman from the dream. He sees Tereza walking past the open windows of their ideal house. She is alone and stops to look in at him with an infinitely sad expression in her eyes. He cannot with stand her glance. Again, he feels her pain in his heart. Again, he falls prey to compassion and sinks deep into her soul. He leaps out of the window, but she tells him bitterly to stay where he feels happy, making those abrupt, angular movements that so annoyed and displeased him. Her grabs her nervous hands and presses them between his own to calm them. And he knows that time and again he will abandon the house of his happiness, time and again abandon his paradise and the woman from his dream and betray the “Es muss sein!“* of his love to go off with Tereza, the woman born of six laughable fortuities.
All this time he was sitting up in bed and looking at the woman who was lying beside him and holding his hand in her sleep. He felt an ineffable love for her. Her sleep must have been very light at the moment because she opened her eyes and gazed up at him questioningly.
“What are you looking at?” she asked.
He knew that instead of waking her he should lull her back to sleep, so he tried to come up with an answer that would plant the image of a new dream in her mind.
“I’m looking at the stars,” he said.
“Don’t say you’re looking at the stars. That’s a lie. You’re looking down.”
“That’s because we’re in an airplane. The stars are below us.”
“Oh, in an airplane,” said Tereza, squeezing his hand even tighter, and falling asleep again. And Tomas knew that Tereza was looking out of the round window of an airplane flying high above the stars.
*It must be
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Milan Kundera 1984
Cribb Comment: The passage above is a convergence of awakenings (from old dreams and to new ones) for both of the characters, Tomas and Tereza. As in all relationships, the catalytic reaction and yield is unavoidably a result of the combined elements or forces of both of the individual variables. Sadly, it seems we most often project all of the responsibility and outcome onto the reaction, understanding, and appreciation of our partner of ourselves. In the first paragraph, Tomas arrives at the epiphany that he has been chasing some sort of false idol or dream all of his life, looking for a distorted perfection of a woman that never was and never will be. His previous focus upon such had remained hidden in the depths of his subconsciousness and this is a common defense mechanism oft utilized by both sexes, to “dream” or live focused in the future, so that he (they) may ignore the reality of the present. Es muss sein further identifies his previous obsessiveness (addiction) towards some false construct of achievement or future existence. Again, an elaborate tool of distraction to withdraw and avoid the present. In this passage, Tomas finally achieves full awareness of this demon which allows him to cast it out of his soul forevermore.
Tereza, suffering in her own right from insecurity tied to her past, has always projected onto to Tomas a condescension in regards to herself. Thus “You’re looking down.” Note the isolated “you” and the “down.”
And finally love beckons love, as both characters escape the past and the future to enter into the present together. With the planting of a new dream (these words coupled with his actions within the novel), confidence within Tereza is birthed and nurtured; Tomas lifts Tereza’s soul out of her perpetual doubt and up above the stars, to be with him, as his chosen equal, forevermore.