I’ve finished my first coffee of the day. Warm, not scalding. Just now taking effect, so my thoughts are hazy in a way that’s only pleasant on days when I don’t have to leave the house or attend to anything particularly time sensitive. How lucky I am for that to be my reality, even if it is only so for a few more days.
Two days ago I was waiting at a bus stop to go into the city. The bus was 10 minutes late, then fifteen. I continually refreshed the app on my phone, growing impatient as the arrival time stretched further away. Though I was travelling alone, I was not waiting alone. Seated underneath the bus shelter were two young lovers. They were my age, approximately, maybe a bit younger. Terms ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’ never carry the same weight in my mind, they leave out the act. Their hands rested between them, his on top of hers. A mountainous pile of mismatched luggage by their side. I could have made a thousand stories of where they could be going. I could have gotten wild and attributed a desperate, run away scenario but something in my heart held my head steady. This was not that world.
They spoke softly about something while I rummaged around in my bag, searching for my earphones. I had a newly created playlist to listen to, expertly crafted and curated, in my opinion of course, for the day ahead. However, my automatic, regular, bus routine of internal retreat didn’t seem appealing anymore. So I stopped looking for them. For whatever reason.
Love, in the romantic sense, tends to be defined by grand gestures. It is acknowledged by large institutions like marriage and measured by outsiders at the rate you move towards that ‘goal’. Yet it exists within the small moments of everyday experience, growing there, intricately weaving its way in, around and through the minor and mundane. I am not so profound in pointing this out. Instead, I only suggest, that I am seeing what I want.
It is one thing to shout your love from the rooftops and another to be prevented from doing so. Yet, it is another thing entirely to have to keep the small and quiet hidden. To save your glances, to bury the desire to place your hand over another’s. Consolidating that one day you can and will. Filling your head with chants and mantras of “some days” and “soons”. It works, I suppose, as long as you don’t quantify ‘soon’.
I loved the way he carried her bags onto the bus without that pause for acknowledgement of the chivalry we’ve come to either respect or scorn. She didn’t have to say thank you or awkwardly protest. There was no expectation that she would. There was nothing to it at all.