Watching them was a pleasure until, realizing I was privy to an intimate moment between lovers, I felt myself blush and so looked away. They had not noticed. Faces close, eyes on the other, they existed, if temporarily, in a world of their making, unaware of others’ eyes. It was a thing of beauty, I noted, but private, nonetheless.
Once the warmth left my cheeks, I turned to look at them again. It seemed to me a parting was imminent. The over-sized suitcase was one clue, but not the only one. They could have been travelling together, but no, their bodies carried a weight that suggested otherwise. His head bowed low, tilted slightly toward her. One hand rested on the handle of the big black bag, the other against her thigh. Her dark chocolate brown eyes stared out the bus’s window now, no longer at her lover’s face. There, I saw reflected deep sadness. And something more – anxiety? Perhaps. Still, the moment that caused me to feel an invader had passed. They were separate now, downcast, and distracted. I looked away again but not from embarrassment. I wanted to return to the moment that had first captivated me, if only in my imagination.
When the couple departed the bus, it was at my stop. It became obvious she was the one leaving. Half running ahead, she called to him over her shoulder for directions. I now understood the agitation I struggled to identify earlier. She was the one going away. I suppose I saw in her what I often feel when on the way to the airport. As much as I love flying away (most of the time) there is a stressfulness about timing and the like. She was anxious to meet the right train. I get that.
As I watched them rush across the street and disappear into the station’s stomach, emotions rushed at me. Parting is a familiar feeling and it is multi-layered. My leavings, those most difficult, were recalled in a heartbeat. I took a deep breath and wished for the memories and feelings to pass.
Lover-speak is intense. Based on more than mere words, it requires the senses engage in a sort of manic dance. Fingers twitch, backs arch, heads shift direction. Bodies lean in. Eyes scan. Ears listen for messages in the silence. Faculties in the left and right modules of the brain participate to choreograph a language unique to the pair. They become like grocery store scanners reading bar codes, beeping their approval when information is received. Is there understanding? If not, the radar-like action continues. Eyes travel between mouth and eyes, lips and hands, seeking knowledge and the true meaning behind each word. And no one is ever spared. If the connection is sincerely desired it can only be made via openness, vulnerability, and honesty. We are programmed for it, though, which is why we can program artificial intelligence. It’s the call of our natural selves. We are not meant to be alone.
My wish is that we take a lesson from the rapacious patience lovers’ exhibit. They will put up with a great deal to make sure they keep the connection ignited. Of course, far from every relationship is ideal. In fact, many should dissolve. But the act of coming together is an opportunity to expand our hearts and minds. We can learn about our talent (or lack of) for compassion, listening, and reaching out. And I’ll bet that every couple who has stuck it out, grown together, and weathered their storms, would agree there is a great reward gained in the patience.