They stood at the elbow of the bus - you know the part I'm talking about, the part where the back end is joined to the front on those extra long buses, which are blue in the city. But out in the far suburbs, the extra-long buses are red like all the other buses. The husband and I were on our way back from his great niece's fifth birthday, sitting and sweating in the back and watching the two boys in the bus's elbow.
They were somewhere between 20 and 24. The shorter one, with his wide smile and perfect white teeth, was in love with the taller one. Anyone could see it. The way he couldn't take his eyes away from the taller boy's face. The way he straightened the taller boy's collar. The way he kept moving his hand on the hand grip so that his fingers were touching the taller boy's fingers. It was all he could do not to hold onto the taller boy.
I sat in my seat and smiled wistfully. I'm surrounded day in and day out by straight people who very visibly show they are in love. They don't have to think twice about it. But for a great big homo like me to show I'm in love becomes a huge statement. So I don't do it, and neither does anyone else in Sweden, not really. So to see my own life reflected in those two boys, it tugs at my heart, and I'm enraptured.
Did you see those boys, I asked the husband as we got off the bus.
"Yes," he said, smiling at me. "I think the one guy liked the other guy more. We're almost home, thank god."
The Swedish phrase for the day is ett par. It means a couple.