Sometime last year, I was standing in a long bus queue at Odeon circa 6.30 PM. The queue was patronised by jaded faces; some with worn makeup. Some, just listless from the banality of capitalism after a long weekday. Some looking all chic and debonair like they had just popped from an apparel store haul. Some, consumed by their phones, perhaps to catch the latest grapevine. There’s always tea somewhere, that we have in abundance. The sun had taken a back seat to the city’s hubbub. The sky had taken a sullen navy-blue hue. The air was slightly windy and a tad nippy. We moved forward in miniscule steps as I got closer to getting a bus.
A couple of heads ahead of me was a damsel; clean-nimbed. Dark skin. Short. Spotting lustrous, subtle dark rimmed spectacles and short hair. She seemed fidgety. Incessantly darting at her phone every couple of seconds. Her nails bearing the brunt of her hands as she gnawed at them. Not long after, her phone rings. She’s one of those people who talk silently on the phone like a thief of the night. A smooth talker. Probably mans a reception desk during the day. Suffice to say I couldn’t eaves drop. The conversation was curt, almost surgical like she had got the hang of brevity. It ended with her raising and feverishly waving her bristle hands.
A short, clean shaven bloke jostles amongst the troops and walks to the bird. A grin cutting his face. His contagious smile catches her face. Damn, I catch it too. Almost choreographical yet off the cuff, they smooch. Not the ludicrous two cheek kiss where it’s more of the smack sound rather than contact. Their lips fall on each others kissers. Why kiss someone’s cheek when you can go the all way. Atta! They then hug, their bodies drawing close to each other. If he pressed a tad harder on her, he would be wearing her braissiere. A proper hug, not the sided one that denotes; ‘i know you but not that way’.
If this were Paris, naught would turn heads. People would go about their business. Indifferent of the two. Only, we are in Nairobi where norm connotes public display of affection averseness. The police could hound you for kissing a loved one in public for ‘indecent behaviour’. People gawped at the two aberrants, the flinches on their faces profound. About three generations of Kenyans witnessing the dissent. The two love birds were too engrossed with each other, hands clasped, obliviously disregarding their gazes.
I’ve had one kiss in public. From some lass I was seeing whilst in second year. As I drew in for a hug, she went for my lips right outside Easy Coach’s booking offices. In full view of the troops of travellers. Almost intuitively I smooched back, averting the weirdness that would’ve come with an awkward kiss and bid her bye. I felt peers stab my back.
I got into the same bus with the two; who I presume were a couple, a tight knit one for that matter. They sat a seat ahead of me. Schmoozing. Making gab. Tittering. Their sounds muffled under the revving of the engine. He got off before her. Again, visiting her kisser before stepping off.
I hope they are still together. Living a life full of kisses and hearty laughs. Doling out PDA to the masses. Teaching us to love better, more openly. Telling us not to reserve affection for rooms; dark or lit. Telling us not to see mortification in fondness but to savour and relish every moment we have. Changing the world a couple at a time. Hopefully, their love life didn’t live as long as their heights.