School let out so I headed to the internet café to do some writing. I was about to hop on the express but it was a pretty tiring day today so decided I didn’t feel like standing all the way to Jiyugaoka and opted to cop a squat on the local. I sat there organizing my thoughts for a valentine’s piece I’m writing for my Black History Month series over on Loco’s Patronus. Wasn’t planning to do anything on Loco in Yokohama…but Japan is nothing if not a goldmine of material if your eyes are open.
However, when the two lovers who handed me this valentine’s gift first boarded the train a couple of stops after I had, I was simply thinking ‘such a cute couple.” And they were. Really couldn’t say for sure who was cuter. They stood by the door looking completely enamored with one another: he, fashionably adorned in clothes looking fresh off the rack of some high-end guy’s shop in Harajuku, a bag of the goodies she’d probably bought him (Valentine’s being a one-way street, girl to guy, in these parts) in hand, and she, dolled up like she were going to some fancy to-do, here coiffed, dress short and legs that went on forever teetering in 3 inch pumps; the two of them constantly finding reasons to touch one another, picking lint off each others clothing and fixing loose strands in each others hair, perfecting the picture they were painting of the perfect couple, giggling at some secret wonderful thought they shared, eyes shining all the while…
Ah! Young love…
They stood because there were no seats…but at the next station the two seats beside mine opened. The beau spotted them first and headed that way as if they were lovers playing eye-spy, or racing to the altar. I expected him to take the seat beside me, as guys here generally go out of their way to place themselves in-between perceived danger, in this case me, and their women; just standard Japanese-style chivalry.
But he surprised me –a rarity in these type situations– and took a seat on the far side leaving the space between he and I for his lady-love.
She stood there, glanced at the empty seat, then at me, then at her beau, a smile glued to her face…and it looked genuine, unforced. Then she shook her head at him as if to say, “Men, hrmph! Can’t take them anywhere…”
But she didn’t sit down.
I was gonna ignore this…I really was. Cut them slack cuz they were a really cute couple. I didn’t want to be responsible for any tension developing between them on this evening they clearly had set aside for expressing their love for one another…but after another 15 seconds of her just standing there in front of me I felt compelled to look.
I glanced at him as he sat there looking dashing up to his moussed hair, with his arms folded, faux obstinate, a dare in his eyes. Then I looked at her and she met my look with an expression that expressed her embarassment…But not with any comprehension of how I might be perceiving her behavior, or rather that I might be interpreting her behavior in any negative way. It was more like she was begging me with her eyes, ‘please forgive my boyfriend…just give him another moment or two. He’s gonna do the proper and gentlemanly protective thing and slide next to you any second now. He was raised better than this, trust me. I know his family. They’re good people! It’s just…he’s such a practical joker and a little childish sometimes…yeaaaaa, any second now….’
But he didn’t budge.
Thirty seconds….forty-five seconds…on final approach to a minute.
She, pouting her lips and filling her cheeks with air, pantomiming ‘keep this up and you might not get no ass tonight!’ He, full of mirth, just loving having put her in a spot, something he clearly gets a kick out of, like those Japanese porno movies where the guys make the girls go shopping at real convenience stores stark naked or give them fellatio on subway cars while presumably shocked passengers pretend not to see.
Realizing he was not going to do what her actions had insisted he do she, begrudgingly, after giving me a little curtsy bow, eased herself into the seat beside me. As she sat I heard him whisper, “。。。好きなみんな.” I wasn’t sure how to translate it or what it was in reference to, but he had a nice laugh after saying it.
Maybe they weren’t as lovey-dovey as I thought, I figured. I mean, that was particularly cruel of him, wasn’t it? Making her take the gaijin seat, the societal equivalent, by all appearances, of making her sleep in the wet spot.
But, then she playfully hits him, and he smiles and pecks her on the cheek. And her smile returns like the eye of a storm, followed by giggling and soon after by laughter.
And all was well in their world. Lover’s quarrels are swift to heal.