When Iím Close To You This Is All I Want To Do


When a Japanese friend came up from London to visit me for the weekend I went to meet her at the railway station in Manchester. I was early but it didnít matter as trains were arriving all the time and I could enjoy people-watching. I had only met Mamiko once before and couldnít quite remember her face. Petite girls with black hair alighted from the trains but none looked to be Japanese so I carried on people-watching for about twenty minutes.


Many other people were waiting for arrivals so I tried to match them up with people alighting from the train. One immaculately-dressed woman under a beret stepped forward as a train disgorged its load. My eyes scanned the queue of people suddenly swelling over the platform. It wasnít difficult to match up the beret-woman with the dark, rangy, James-Garner look-a-like sticking up from the crowd. When he appeared through the door into the public area he saw beret-woman and actually did a little run across 20 feet toward her. A hulking case without wheels hadnít stopped him carrying a small but expensive-looking flower bouquet. Beret-woman was suitably impressed though she looked too repressed to be comfortable with any public displays of affection beyond receiving a kiss on the forehead. Even though she wore heels her beau was tall and she rose on her toes to kiss him (there was no hug.) Romantic stuff and it scorched my memory banks.


I like matching up partners. When I stop at The Grand Hotel in Scarborough I always choose a seat in the restaurant that faces the expansive room and anaylse couples. Thereís a long self-service buffet and often people are sitting alone while their partner is getting food. I try to match up who is with who before they sit together. If couples are already together I analyse their heights and on average 7 out of 10 men are slightly taller than their female partners. For years I assumed older foxes were generally the same size but Iíve been lucky to see a dog fox twice and theyíre taller and beefier than vixens.


Digressing I also analyse coupleís lips. The aging process has stolen the top lip of many males and some older males donít have a bottom lip either. How do they kiss something without lips? Also Iíve noticed few people have symmetrical eye sockets or smiles. Since a read a book about fetal alcohol syndrome (the mother drank alcohol while pregnant) I often examine childrenís faces for the signs: a thin top lip, indistinct philtrum, flat face, low bridge on nose.)

Anyway, here is a painting. That romantic gesture at the train station stuck in my mind so here are the shoes of a man and woman, the latter reaching up to lock lips. With no intricate subjects to paint this mess of a painting was finished quickly. I think Iíll pack a picnic hamper and spend the day at the train station. Watching people in public is free and not taxable.