Monday, July 12, 2010


A young couple kissing their final goodbyes before parting is a lovely but lonely sight. When such an encounter occurs on a train station platform, we have moved from the realm of reality to that of a cinematic melodrama, but even melodrama has its roots in the rubic of life. Cliches are enacted wherever we go, and life need not be original or novel to force its effect. Watching this scene play out activates the voyeur in all of us, the original watcher that wants to observe. I pretend to be studying the schedule of trains hanging over our heads, but secretly watch as they play out a scene for which they are the stars and I am an audience.

One suspects that something is surely amiss, for lovers at rest rarely look so languid and dreamy as they loll about in one another's arms like pups at play. Trains move in and out of their station at their regular, Japanese clip, and the couple (for surely they are two) -- he, dark-haired, she, a blonde, his male to her female watch them go sadly and expectantly, for soon such a car will subtract one and leave the other behind.

They continue to hug and hang off of each other, but the tone shifts, the levity gone, their former play replaced by a desperate embrace that reminds one of mourners at a funeral wondering what will come next. She slowly rubs the back of his skull in soft little circles, as if his stomach is painful and she holds the cure. In their t-shirt and shorts they could be any young lovers going for a carefree day out in a city not their own, but their restless intimacy speaks of a sooner parting.

When the train for the airport finally arrvies, she holds him tight and kisses him deep. The doors open. She steps inside, staying close to him still. He starts to move away from the doors and the tracks, but she grins and waves him forward for one final kiss. For a long moment his face is between the railway line and her lips that are waiting. He crosses the gap. Kisses. Leans back. She smiles. I suddenly realize that they will see each other soon. There are no tears. There are no faces with the shock of one who's been slapped. Perhaps she is going back before him, or they will meet in ten days in another far land. Things seem better, somehow, as if a child that has fallen down somewhere has suddenly stood up.

The doors close, and she blows him the kiss of cliches and the truth. He watches the train leave in a rapid-fire rush, and I watch him watch. He is smiling slightly. He walks slowly away in the mid-summer heat.

I feel guilty and alone, knowing that I will write about this moment, and that whatever they are feeling will not be conveyed. I don't know their names, so that lessens any loss of pride that I feel by this breach of their privacy.

Even standing still, my shirt is scorched with sweat. I think that this entry will somehow ennoble their spirits, allowing them to represent all those who go, and all those who will stay. Absurd, grandiose thoughts.

He walks away, and I wait for my train.