This is a story of relationship choices and hopes between an English academic, Tom (35 in 1989) and two Czech women best friends, Dita, an academic (32), and Jana (25), a keen photographer active in the dissident movement in 1989. In November 2009 whilst attending a Prague academic conference commemorating the 20 year anniversary of the 1989 ‘Velvet Revolution’ Tom is telling a Czech Professor, Petr Kadlec, his experiences during the events of 1989 and after, including his relationships with the two women. The story flashes back to the period, showing how Tom initially met them both and how he initially fell in love with Dita. However, throughout the last three months of 1989, and the events during the revolution he attends with Jana because Dita is reluctant to and is sceptical anything will change, Tom realises he is falling in love with Jana. Unable to tell her because of the women’s friendship, and not wanting to commit with Dita, he leaves for England.
In April 1990 Tom returns to Prague for academic research, meets Jana and sleeps with her. However, whilst examining the StB Czech Secret Police files for his research at that time he misinterprets 1989 reports there mentioning Jana and Jiri Kaluza, her student dissident friend. The reports suggest Kaluza was a StB informer and refer to Jana as a close ‘associate’ of Kaluza’s. He tells her what he found and she refuses to believe it. They argue. She tells him forcibly to leave, refuses to subsequently see or speak to him, and Tom again leaves for England.
The story returns to 2009. After telling Petr all this, and his mistakes, he meets Dita at the conference next day. She tells him she knew he was always in love with Jana; that Jana married Kaluza in summer 1990 but was now divorced, and now has a stall on the Charles Bridge selling tourists her photographs. Dita tells him firmly to go to her. He does, weaving his way through the tourists in the cobbled streets. He finds her, they kiss, and he asks about a recent looking photograph on her stall of her and a boy beneath the Prague Astronomical clock. She tells him it is Tomas, his 18 year old son.