I am a strong advocate for NOWTSYPDA: No One Wants to See Your Public Displays of Affection. You know who I’m talking about. The couples who see an escalator and think, “Yes. Let’s stand in the middle of a step and kiss grossly so that everyone can not only witness our passionate love, but also miss their trains at the same time”. Blechh. I see these couples all over the city – outside tourist attractions, inside tourist attractions, in elevators, on escalators, in coffee shops, outside grocery stores, inside grocery stores… They’re everywhere, and apparently there’s no stopping them, most unfortunately for mankind. However…
THERE WAS THIS COUPLE. Man. If I were into writing fiction, my book would be entirely centered around these two. They… I don’t know what happened to them, but whatever it was, it was huge. It was exciting and marvelous and life changing and huge. Alright sorry – here’s what happened: I was on my way home via U-Bahn (Vienna’s underground railway) when suddenly this handsome looking pair, probably late 20s/early 30s, sat down next to me in my section of 4 seats and boxed me in with their love. By that I mean they sat down across from each other, immediately grabbed each other’s hands, and gazed into each other’s eyes. I mean there was some intense eye-gazing going on here. At first, my initial feeling about being boxed in like this was one of inward eye-rolling and Really?, but then after a little more observation, I realized there was nothing to eye-roll about this couple but instead, something to celebrate. They looked at each other for a long time, both of them smiling in a way that said they could smile bigger if they wanted to but they were trying to keep it cool. The girl closed her eyes, still smiling, and breathed in deeply while her boyfriend/fiancé/husband put two fingers under his jaw to check his pulse. The both of them were overcome with a second wave of excitement and took to expressing it through tighter hand holding and bigger smiles. The guy chuckled and shook his head, like he couldn’t believe his life. The girl looked him and sighed, like she couldn’t believe her life.
And then there I am artistically, borderline creepily watching them through reflections of windows and glass panes. Because I’m classy.
At this point I had thought up 3 different theories, and if I can pull a CNN move here, I want to remind everyone that this is all just speculation and that my theories could be very, very wrong.
First 3 Theories:
1. He proposed
2. Boom, married.
3. They’re expecting.
The guy was the first one to speak up after what seemed like an hour of silence. As luck would have it, (and probably because God knew it was none of my business), I could barely hear a thing he said for the entire train ride. We were on a side of town that didn’t run above ground. Ever. So instead, every time this guy had something to say, the train dove into another tunnel, and much like a comedy show, he always finished up whatever it was he wanted to say right as the train came to a stop. If I’m being honest with myself, it’s not like I would have understood what he was saying anyway even if we were surrounded by a soundproof wall. He of course spoke in German, probably even Viennese dialect which is close to impossible to understand for someone who’s not a native speaker. The only thing I did hear him say, which kind of threw off my first 3 theories and then led me to develop the next 2, was a strange break he took in his story to say, in English:
“Enjoy your well crafted placebo effect.”
Word for word, that’s what he said. He said that line in English then went right back to German. So… I have no idea what that means. I assume he was telling her a story, perhaps a story about work, and someone said that to him or to someone else. Or maybe he’s actually the one who said it. Negative infinity clue about it (also about all of this). But since he appeared to be talking about work, and she was still gazing and smiling at him while he spoke, I came up with these last 2 theories.
Last 2 Theories:
4. He scored his dream job.
5. He got a promotion.
When I was about 2 stops away from the one I needed, they stopped talking again because they needed to look into each other’s eyes some more. This time the gazing was more intense than the last, if you can imagine, so much so that I think if our train had come to a screeching halt, they wouldn’t have noticed. They were in their own world, which was convenient for me because I wasn’t exactly the definition of subtle. Shoot, I was lost in their world! In fact I actually had to physically turn away because I was so moved by this couple that I almost cried. ALMOST. CRIED. But trust me you would’ve done the same if you had been there. They were amazing. Her eyes looked like… like she was so proud of him and if she loved him anymore than she did in that moment she would… I don’t know… she would just… combust! (which would’ve been cool and scary.) And he – he kissed her hand, ladies – in that Mr. Darcy kind of way. Oh it was too perfect. The train arrived at my stop which coincidentally was their stop. They got off, grabbed each other’s hands, walked to the escalator, then he gave her a single kiss – one that lasted all the way to the very top. Ah, romance.
Of course the rest of my ride home was spent across from a different couple who could not yell at each other loud enough, so much so that the girlfriend felt it necessary to spit her gum into her hand in order to get her point across more effectively, though personally I preferred her fuming words with the gum. Romantic U-Bahn dream world – tschüß. But at least the ride ended with a good chuckle in response to the angry girlfriend getting her gum accidentally tangled around her finger on its way back between her furiously smacking teeth. Ah, public displays of animosity.
I’ll never know what the U-Bahn couple was so worked up about, and that seriously bums me out. I wish there was a way for me to tell them how much they impacted me during my usual uneventful train ride home; how for 10 minutes, in a world that’s often too easily darkened with stories of unhappiness and distrust, they allowed me to be a witness to their genuine, heartfelt, trusting love for one another. And because of those beautiful 10 minutes, I will never forget the U-Bahn couple.