No Love Scenes

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On the last bus back from Jacó, the seats are sold out, but people keep climbing aboard. They line up in the center aisle, their palms pressed against the luggage compartments, arms buttressing them against the curves.

The skinny guy in basketball shorts and the sweaty girl in white cotton look at each other, nod once, and then proceed to kiss. They kiss the same way that teenagers do in San José parks, enveloping each other’s mouths in overblown lips, tongues colliding and rolling over each other, bubbles of saliva bursting between their teeth, and even the roar of the engine can’t drown out the clicks and slurps of their smooching.

Slowly they sink to the ground, his legs horseshoe around hers, she leans against his chest, and they hold each other on the ribbed steel of the bus’ floor. I think of all those signs in restaurants and terminals, the ones that read “No se permiten escenas amorosas” — “No love scenes.” As the sun dims beyond the windows, the standing passengers turn into silhouettes, and soon their scene is lost in the blackout.
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