(Teresa and Andrew)
Andrew has chosen me and asked for my hand. It happened today between five and six in the afternoon. I don’t remember exactly, I had no time to look at my watch, or catch a glimpse of the clock on the tower of the old town hall. At such moments one does not check the hour, such moments grow in one above time.
But even had I remembered to look at the town hall clock, I could not have done so, for I would have had to look above Andrew’s head.
as any other man, as any other woman -and yet there was something that allowed one to think of throwing a bridge. I remember that Andrew did not turn his eyes to me at once, but looked ahead for quite a while, as if gazing intently at the road before us.
for I knew that otherwise I would never really leave my “ego” and reach the other person-but that meant an effort. For my senses fed at every step on the charms of the women I met. When once or twice I tried following them, I met solitary islands.
I went quite a long way before reaching Teresa, I did not find her at once. I do not even remember if our first meeting was marked by a kind of presentiment. And I don’t think I even know what “love at first sight” means. After a time I realized she had come into the focus of my attention, I mean, I had to be interested in her,
and at the same time I accepted the fact that I had to.
my personality. I met a few girls who absorbed my imagination, and also my thoughts-but at the moments when it seemed to me I was most concerned with them,
I suddenly realized that Teresa was still there in my consciousness and memory and I instinctively compared each of them with her. And yet I even wished them to push her from my consciousness; in a way, I counted on it. And I was ready to follow sensation, strong, forceful sensation.
while seeing in her my tormentor. It seemed to me she pursued me with her love, and that I must cut myself off decisively.
Andrew was then quite clearly interested in Christine. But this did not spoil the pleasure of the ramble for me. For I was always as hard as a tree
that would rather rot than topple. If I cried for myself, it was not from disappointed love. And yet it was difficult.
If it was a man-he would hear it. The first voice, however, was heard no more.
* In the original, noc bieszczadzka-“Bieszczady night”, referring to the Bieszczady range of mountains in southeastern Poland-B. T.
Teresa asked me today: “Andrew, do you believe in signals?”
And I know I cannot go further. I know I shall not seek anymore. I only tremble at the thought that I could so easily have lost her. I met Teresa when she had just paused in front of a large window full of ladies’ shoes. I stopped by her quietly and unexpectedly -and suddenly we were together on both sides of the big transparent sheet f1lled with glowing light.
I wasn’t thinking then about signals anymore. And I wasn’t really thinking about Andrew. I was looking for high-heeled shoes. There were many sports shoes, many comfortable walking shoes, but I was really straining my eyes for high-heeled shoes. Andrew is so much taller than I that I have to add a little to my height -and so I was thinking about Andrew, about Andrew and about myself. I was now constantly thinking about us two; he must surely think like this too so he must rejoice at my thought.
And yet we did not go in at once, held back by a thought which -we felt this clearly-arose at the same time in me and in her. The rings in the window appealed to us with a strange force. Now they are just artifacts of precious metal, but it will be so only until that moment when I put one of them on Teresa’s finger, and she puts the other on mine. From then on they will mark our fate. They will constantly act as a reminder of the past, as a lesson to be memorized for good, and they will constantly open up the future, joining the past to the future.
This is the jeweler’s shop. What a strange craft. To produce objects that can stimulate reflection on fate. To gild watches, for instance, which measure time and tell man about the transience of all things and their passing.
Someone ceased to speak. The man found his way, however, to the edge of our thoughts. We went on standing in silence. Imagination worked, though. I already saw, as in a mirror, myself, in a white wedding dress, kneeling with Andrew, dressed in a black suit. As we entered the church I equaled him in height, inasmuch as there was no disproportion (this was why I had to buy the high-heeled shoes I saw today in that other window). And now-the strangest thing and unexpected: as we were standing thus in front of the jeweler’s we remembered fragments of letters written a few years ago.
. . . I want to return, Andrew, to our August hike, to that night when we heard those strange signals. You remember, there was some confusion and difference of
opinion. Some thought that we ought to begin a search for wanderers who might be lost in the thick of the forest, while some, on the other hand, took the view
that it had been a late bird calling, not a man. You were among the latter.
just as you calculate everything in your planning office. You lack courage and trust-in what? in whom? in life, in your own fate, in people, in God. . .
But the window has turned into a mirror of our future -it reflects its shape.
The wedding rings did not stay in the window. The jeweler looked long into our eyes. Testing for the last time the firmness of precious metal, he spoke seriously, deep thoughts, which remained strangely in my memory.
“The weight of these golden rings”, he said, “is not the weight of metal, but the proper weight of man, each of you separately and both together. Ah, man’s own weight, the proper weight of man! Can it be at once heavier, and more intangible? It is the weight of constant gravity, riveted to a short flight. The flight has the shape of a spiral, an ellipse-and the shape of the heart… Ah, the proper weight of man!
so you are courageous and full of trust-and yet how many times did I see tears in your face, though your eyes remained dry. Maybe you think you courageously reach for happiness, but in fact this is only another form of fear-or caution at least.
Imagination was working more and more intensely, ranging over reminiscences, over the past, to the future, whose picture was ever nearer. So, I see myself near Andrew, equal to him in height. We are both elegant and somehow mature -we matured through so many letters exchanged during those years. We are still standing in front of that shop, choosing our fate together.
in fact he is poor. This is one man-and what about two people, four, a hundred, a million multiply all this (multiply the greatness by the weakness), and you will have the product of humanity, the product of human life.”
which had earlier been in the window, and finally wrapped it in tissue paper. All this while he looked into our eyes, as if he wished to sound our hearts. W as he right in saying all that? Were his thoughts also ours? I suppose neither of us could think about it from such a distance- love is enthusiasm rather than pensiveness.
So, we are standing reflected in the window, as if in a mirror that catches the future: Andrew takes one of the rings, I take the other, we take each other by the hand
my God, how simple this is. What can the people think invited to our wedding? What do they think when they are silent and what will they go on thinking when they stop talking?
I. The occasion is most beautiful, it evokes so many associations. We are looking only at what is!2. Man lives with a shadow line, he lives also with a line of light. The light passes into shadow, shadow into light.3. New people-Teresa and Andrew two until now, but still not one, one from noW on, though still two.4. She seems sad, though, but perhaps she’s just serious and moved (a diamond flashed on Andrew’s shirt front, a white flower in Teresa’s hair, though it’s a different flash).5. Wine also sparkles. Wine is a thing. Let it live in the other man, man-is love.6. Ah, how many words and hearts ah, how many words and hearts ah, how many words and hearts And we’ll go on with you along the cloister we’ll go then down the avenue, a few score, a few hundred yards, with enthusiasm, with a sincere smile, up to now, up to now together. Later vehicles will appear, later a road will hinder us -when you get into the car you must stay alone.7. But let us return to the stars, let us return to warmth, to feelings. Ah, how man thirsts for feelings, how people thirst for intimacy. Teresa and Andrew.8. Trees, trees-straight, slender trunks, cutting high, high above the eyes cutting the moon distant from the eyes three hundred thousand miles and yet they are two. Teresa and Andrew. The moon becomes a little drum9. Love-love pulsating in brows, in man becomes thought and will: the will of Teresa being Andrew, the will of Andrew being Teresa.10. Strange, yet necessary -and again we move away from each other because man will not endure in man forever and man will not suffice.I I. How can it be done, Teresa, for you to stay in Andrew forever? How can it be done, Andrew, for you to stay in Teresa forever? Since man will not endure in man and man will not suffice.12. Body-thought passes through it, is not satisfied in the body and love passes through it. Teresa, Andrew, seek a harbor for thought in your bodies while they last, seek the harbor for love. . . Wine, wine radiate mutually into each other’s lives. (Raise your glass.)ANDREW
Though we were still standing in front of the jeweler’s shop. . . it was nonetheless clear that his shop window Teresa and Andrew that plays in the depths of eyes and in the depths of hearts.had ceased to be a display in which everyone without exception could find an object for himself It became, however, a mirror reflecting us both-Teresa and myself. Moreover, it was not an ordinary flat mirror, but a lens absorbing its object. We were not only reflected but absorbed. I had an impression of being seen and recognized by someone hiding inside the shop window. The future for us remains an unknown quantity, which we noW accept without anxiety. Love has overcome anxiety. The future depends on love.TERESAThe future depends on love.TERESA
One could see in it our wedding day. We were both dressed in our Sunday best, and behind us there were a lot of people: they were wedding guests. The window absorbed my person at various moments and in different situations-first as I was standing, then kneeling by Andrew, when we were exchanging the rings. . . I am also convinced that our reflection in that mirror has remained forever, and cannot be extracted or removed. A little while later we concluded that we had been present in the mirror from the beginning-at any rate much sooner than the moment we stopped in front of the jeweler’s shop.ANDREW
At one point my eyes once more met the gaze of the old jeweler. I felt just then that His gaze was not only sounding our hearts, but also trying to impart something to us. We found ourselves not only on the level of His gaze, but also on the level of His life. Our whole existence stood before Him. His eyes were flashing signals which we were not able to receive fully just then, as once we had been unable to receive fully the signals in the mountains-and yet, they reached to our inner hearts. And somehow we went in their direction, and they covered the fabric of our whole lives.ANDREW
And’ the jeweler, as I have already mentioned, looked at us in a peculiar way. His gaze was at once gentle and penetrating. I had a feeling he was watching us while he was selecting and weighing the rings. He then put them on our fingers to try them. I had the feeling that he was seeking our hearts with his eyes and delving into our past. Does he encompass the future too? The expression of his eyes combined warmth with determination.TERESA
We stood in front of the jeweler’s shop for a long time, without noticing the time, or the cold of the October evening. At one point, though, we were roused by these words, spoken loudly by a passer-by behind our backs:SOMEONE
It is late and the shops are closed. Why is the light still on in the old jeweler’s workshop? He too should lock up and go home,
(The preceding article is an excerpt from the best-selling book by Karol Wojtyla; more popularly known as Pope John Paul II. If you’d like to read the remaining two acts, I highly recommend you go to your local book store and find this wonderful play.)