The boys, the betrayal, the book
By ABIGAIL JOYCE VILLAFUERTE, Ateneo de Manila University
October 15, 2011, 3:39am
MANILA, Philippines — He is a year older than me. He’s not just good-looking, but he is really good-looking that even my father would have to agree. He is a dean’s lister who has mastered the art of chivalry.
He became fond of me. He had escorted me to my classrooms on the first weeks of my freshman year. We spent weeks exchanging text messages. We had lunch together at my favorite stalls on campus.
And then two months later, I decided that I was just not that into him. And I didn’t know why. Well, I was just not that into him -- when I was with him. But when I was not or I was bored and daydreaming, he was the Perfect Guy.
Something was just out of sync. The butterflies didn’t flutter in my stomach, the sun didn’t shine any brighter, and I didn’t wish to have our time together to last longer. In fact, I started to feel burdened when we talked. Replying to his text messages even with the slightest bit of enthusiasm became too difficult. The more I thought about it, the more I sensed distaste for this guy. So not long after, I decided to erase myself completely from his daily routine, and I walked out of his life.
Not so far back, I had someone in my life that was dear to me. We were great friends when he started to court me. But right after high school, for reasons I cannot quite fathom up to this day, I ended the relationship that had not even started yet.
Both guys were keepers; and somehow I knew they wouldn’t hurt me. I just had to end those relationships because I was starting to get too attached, because I couldn’t get myself to believe that not every person in the world would end up betraying you.
I had to be the first to betray.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
I’ve been reading a novel by a Czech writer, Milan Kundera, for my Literature class. As a young reader, its title, ‘’The Unbearable Lightness of Being’’ had been immediately translated as The Unbearable Length of a Philosophical Novel. But since reading it is a requirement, I read it anyway. And I was surprised to find myself enjoying the book.
I read it twice.
In this novel, Kundera associates lightness with freedom, escaping, and no commitments. Flirting is an example. While it seems attractive, it is also unbearable because lightness is vulnerable to the weight of existence. Weight, on the other hand, is associated with the idea of responsibility. Marriage is an example.
The novel presents four major characters that experience the “lightness of being” but react differently.
Tomas is a womanizer who deems love and sex as two different passions.
His mistress, Sabina, is an artist who escapes anything permanent. Both Tomas and Sabina are light.
Tomas marries Tereza who knows about her husband’s affairs, but chooses to stay because she loves him so much.
Franz falls in love with Sabina, and to him, it meant that he had to put himself at the mercy of his partner. Tereza and Franz are weighty.
Sabina lives her life for herself. S She does not conform to expectations that people and society have placed on her. She takes comfort in betraying her father and marries a second-rate actor. When she feels unsatisfied by her action, she betrays her own betrayal and leaves her husband, longing for more to betray.
While Sabina betrays again and again, she feels tired of running away and wants to meet someone strong enough to hold her down. She knows that Franz is a good man, but she reacts to permanence with distaste.
The unbearable lightness of being excites Sabina. And she is excited by the thought of betraying a good man – for no meaningful reason.
I had to make random excuses when he asked me questions on why I left. My answers were inconsistent.
Within reasonable bounds, I could have always chosen to stop myself from running away, to allow myself to be bathed in young love. But I didn’t. I just knew it was time to leave, to betray.
I guess it also comes with having been through circumstances, where I learned to refrain from being too attached with people. I didn’t allow people to know a lot about me; and I didn’t allow myself to be dependent on anyone. Because once you make yourself vulnerable to a person, then you sort of allow the world to hurt you.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
At first glance, S Sabina might have appeared to be revelling in the sweet lightness of being; but as you read through the entire novel, you begin to realize that the lightness of being is unbearable. It is in fact tiring.
She is on the pursuit of lightness, since it is the goal that lies behind her longing to betray. But just as we have seen with Sabina’s betrayals, Hthe pursuit of lightness doesn’t make the experience of lightness any less unbearable.
Running away from the ones you care for is not a way to escape pain, but it is a cowardly act. Milan Kundera experimented on lightness and weight as he played around with the four characters. Although Tomas tries to maintain his lightness with his womanizing, he later ends these erotic friendships and becomes completely loyal to Tereza.
Franz, on the other hand, tries to move on and has a relationship with his student, leaving Sabina as the only character from the four who remains alone in the end; thus, the unbearable lightness of being. S Sabina chooses to betray, hoping that lightness will someday be something positive.
If there is one thing I learned from this book, it is that heaviness is bearable, after all.
http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/337807/th ... rayal-book