Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Love on the Metro

The couple hops onto the train just before the doors close. They laugh at the near-miss, their smiles private and conspiratorial. As the train jerks into motion, the young man cups his hand around the girl’s elbow, steadying her. She puts her hand on his chest as her feet inch closer to his. She looks up, head slightly quirked to the side, a quiet smile flirting with the corner of her lips. He tilts his face towards hers, unconsciously mirroring her movements. Their noses are almost touching.

The watcher observes them discreetly. She has seen many, many couples in the nearly seven months she has lived in this city, but few interest her as this one does. Most she finds annoying, because they talk or giggle loudly, or worse, make out like as if they’re auditioning for an x-rated film. Personally, the watcher thinks that tongues aren’t really meant to seen by the general population, and that while in public, they are best kept inside their owner’s mouths—as opposed to down someone else’s throat.

But this couple is…quiet. Restrained. Yes, that’s the word, restrained. And somehow, through their restraint, they manage to convey more tenderness and passion than all those other giggling, tongue-sucking couples. Like most Parisians on this blustery day, they’re bundled up head to toe in various shades of black; only their faces and their hands are visible. Their hair is mussed and windblown in that romantic way that only a lucky few can pull off. They talk and laugh quietly, an oasis of calm in the bustle and noise of rush hour. Around them, people listen to blaring MP3 players, have loud conversations on cell phones or with companions, and attempt to solicit spare change from the passengers, but they don’t seem to hear any of it.

The train comes to a particularly abrupt stop and the girl wobbles. The young man shifts his hold from her elbow to her waist, and she in turn lifts her ungloved hand to the pole he grips for balance. She makes sure to set her naked hand on the back of his. His brows furrow slightly, not with annoyance but with concentration. What is he thinking? He looks at her as if he’s memorizing the color of her eyes, the curve of her cheek. What would it be like to be the object of such unwavering focus?  His gaze seems to glow with warmth.

The doors open, and they step out, her hand lightly cradled in his. The watcher’s eyes follow them.

She feels just a little jealous.

1 comment:

  1. Deep, touching, sad... you have a way with words Claud. This is reason enough you should find time for your novels... sucked me elbow deep into these three people's interactions. Whom ever they are... :-P