They were kissing at the bottom of the escalators. At the point where the up crowds and the down crowds and the battling across the stream crowds get knotted up into a stare-ahead tangle. Nobody was looking at them. Nobody was bumping into them. There was a fluid gap of twelve inches, maybe fourteen around them as people moved out of their way without even seeing that they were there. There was a smooth flow of hurried people engulfing them in crazy privacy.
And they were kissing like it had just been invented, and invented for them alone. Eyes closed, flicking open with surprise as a hand nestled in hair or stroked a stretched up jaw. About the same height, they leaned into each other and kissed. And kissed some more.
And somehow, impossibly, they managed to avoid the squirming, embarrassed glares that public kissing so often provokes in this city. There was no temptation to yell, "get a room" because they were not writhing and grinding with the steep curve of arousal. There was no facepulling and sighed, "oh, really..." Because they were not intruding, not showing off and parading their kissableness. They were just kissing.
Though I admit that my first reaction, on seeing them, was a small huff of "Too much. Too public."
There is something so confusing, so intrusive about concerted kissing in public. But they weren't over excited adolescents, and they were neither drunk nor wrapped in late night liberties. It was not the unstoppable force of the last stage before ripping off clothes. They were kissing like it was the last thing left.
They were the sort of kisses that are too tender, too passionate, too real to parade along the grimy tunnels of the underground.
And that's why no one seemed to see them. Because they couldn't exist.
And by the time the escalator chugged me too high to see them, I was feeling guilty. Feeling guilty about my initial disapproving sigh of distaste. Because I kiss in public.
My name is heyoka, and I am a hypocrite.
I never used to do this. I was more concerned with propriety than with passion when it came to kissing on the street. I'd roll my eyes and shake my head. I'd blush. Oh sure, I snogged in taxis, kissed in bars, and late night railway stations. But I'd never do the same on the street. These days, these days things are different. Walking hand in hand with snarl, I will pull him back to me, in that crash together swirl of a dance, and plant a grinning kiss on his lips. I will stop, waiting for the crossing lights to change, with my arms looped around his neck, and our lips pressed together. Leaving a cafe, sometimes there has to be a moment's pause, a long sweet kiss before we can walk home.
But there's no serious snogging, no all out full on knee melting spine tingling kissing on the streets for me. Except when I feel like it.
Because I love kissing. It's one of my all time favourite things. I'd give up coffee, chocolate and cigarettes if only I could keep kissing. I'd stop listening to music, if I could keep kissing.
Keep kissing sprawled on the sofa. Draped across the chaise longue. Pushed up against the kitchen wall. By the sink, interrupting washing up, when fingers are dripping with suds. Crossed legged, face to face cyclops-creating. Slow blinking goodmornings on crumpled pillows. Falling into a gasping heap of desire sending bedcurled cats flying. In a patch of lime-tree shade in a small park. On a dawn street with no one but pigeons for company. In a latenight square, shivering and tightcold skinned.
But not on the tube.