The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Escalator Kissing

The man and woman have grey hair and matching gold necklaces. They hold hands. People rarely walk down the escalator stairs in this Budapest metro station, as the angle is quite steep and there’s little need to hurry. Perhaps because of this, perhaps because he doesn’t care, the man stands on the left, clutching the handrail and the hand of his love as they descend. He leans over to kiss her cheek and spots me on the step behind them. He grins after the smooch, and begins saying something to me. I know how to say in Hungarian that I can’t speak Hungarian, but I always say it incorrectly. He shakes his head when I try. So I say: “Pardon, Angol” which is the phrase I use when I want an English menu in a Budapest restaurant.

The woman laughs, “Angol.” The man continues to speak, seemingly asking a variety of questions before she scoffs and surely reiterates that I can’t understand a word. He shrugs, smiles mischievously. “London?” He asks.

I shake my head patriotically, “America.” He doesn’t give me a blink of recognition, so I keep babbling, “Colorado. Denver? America?” Also grasping at a word he might know, I try, “Texas?” I’m not from Texas, but I don’t mind being associated with Texas. And this word turns on the light bulbs, they both nod and laugh, “Texas! Texas!”

It takes this long to get to the bottom of the escalator ride. As we part ways, he keeps saying things to me, she keeps giggling at him, and I keep smiling about their kiss. I am so grateful. I’ve been struggling with writing lately, and wondered if my inspiration had come to an end, but I immediately pulled out my notebook to scrawl notes from our encounter. I felt I had to tell their sweet story–or, at least as much as I could understand.

–Budapest, Hungary

Szell Kalman Ter

Budapest Metro. (The photo isn’t from the occasion of the story above.) (Also, it is even steeper than it looks here.)

46 comments on “Escalator Kissing

  1. tonylhynnbrennand
    September 2, 2016

    Nice story 😀

  2. Darlene
    September 2, 2016

    A very sweet story. Love it!

  3. cheenda@livingdove_rtf
    September 2, 2016

    almost interesting cos i couldn’t get the whole story

  4. tonylhynnbrennand
    September 2, 2016

    Sweetness overload 😍

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 2, 2016

      Right? I probably would have written about him even if he didn’t want to tell me their story. 🙂 I wish I’d had a friend along to translate.
      Have a nice weekend–
      Paige

  5. ajumbledworld
    September 2, 2016

    Loved reading many of the short stories posted! It’s like escaping into the specific moment and experiencing it as well as a reader ❤️

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 2, 2016

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the stories. I keep looking back through them myself as a sort of formal journal of where I’ve been. It’s helped me keep track and to be grateful for all I’ve had the chance to see. 🙂
      Welcome,
      Paige

  6. Restless Mind
    September 2, 2016

    Such a sweet, loving story. It’s nice to see sweet gestures in a world that’s so full of hate.
    I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen something as peaceful and loving like your story. But then again, rush hour commute in NYC doesn’t have patience for such 😦

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 2, 2016

      Restless, sometimes we just have to look. I’ve found when I switched my focus, even the jerks were just little kids looking for a place to sit in the lunchroom. 🙂 Of course, I’m not in NYC. Lol. If you find anything over there, let me know.
      Paige

  7. theillusionarywriter
    September 2, 2016

    This story is just so freaking adorable. I’ve literally fallen short of words to what I actually wanna say about this one. Seriously.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 3, 2016

      🙂 Haha, that’s awesome! I was grinning so hard after I saw them that my face hurt. Glad to take one for the team (and share the highlights). 🙂
      Paige

  8. GalOnTrip
    September 2, 2016

    sweet couple. at least they tried their best to engage a stranger through a conversation despite the language barrier.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 3, 2016

      I thought so as well. He was just full of joy and wanted to share it. He communicated that without any trouble at all. 🙂
      Paige

  9. thebloggingleprechaun
    September 2, 2016

    I love this story😆 Any tips for a new blogger? ✌

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 3, 2016

      Hi Kamron,
      I think the most helpful for me as I got started was to set some deadlines and keep them. In the last two months, I’ve had a hard time meeting the Monday-Wednesday-Friday posting dates in my blog headline, but for about 4 years I never budged on the deadlines. If you say you MUST write X number of times in the week, and you hold yourself accountable to that, you’ll find that the ideas will arrive and you’ll learn a lot about your own voice. 🙂 Best of luck! I’m following you (blog-wise, not down an alley or something…).
      Paige

      • TheBloggingLeprechaun
        September 3, 2016

        Thank you so much! I appreciate any help I can get! Glad you’re not following me down an alley haha!

      • thenicethingaboutstrangers
        September 3, 2016

        Only to protect you. I have a tactical flashlight. 🙂
        Paige

  10. thebloggingleprechaun
    September 2, 2016

    I love this story! So sweet😊

  11. J.R.Bee
    September 2, 2016

    It’s lovely to read about pleasant experiences like this, so often only the bad gets reported.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 3, 2016

      J.R.,
      This was my intent when I started the blog (glory, 4 years ago?! Has it been 4 years?). By deciding I would only be sharing only the good, then I had no trouble finding it. 🙂
      Thanks for saying hello–
      Paige

      • J.R.Bee
        September 3, 2016

        I’d like to think it would get easier with time, thanks for sharing your memories 🙂

  12. Alison and Don
    September 2, 2016

    So sweet. I’m inspired now to make note more often of these kinds of encounters as we travel. It’s nothing really, and yet it’s everything, these snippets of human connection that make up our time exploring a new country.
    Alison

  13. theunknownvoyager
    September 3, 2016

    This is so adorable and sweet! 😍😊😊

  14. shelaroshin
    September 3, 2016

    In a world where the concept of love is ever evolving, thanks for this beautiful piece on love ☺

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 3, 2016

      Thank you so much! And such an evolution on an escalator gives one all the more reason to hold hands with our loved ones. 🙂 And the handrail!
      Have a lovely weekend–
      Paige

  15. I like the universal connection witnessing kisses can lead to. Their smiles toward you doesn’t even need translation. Nice post.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 3, 2016

      Thank you! You’re right, I figured I had a sense of what he wanted to say. 🙂 Their joy was such a gift to witness.
      Have a lovely weekend–
      Paige

  16. Keith Hummel
    September 3, 2016

    I certainly enjoy your insight and perspective toward life. However you decide to express yourself in the future, you’ve certainly imparted a little of your optimism and spirit through this. Regardless of your decision, have solace in that.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 3, 2016

      Keith,
      This is a lovely note. I appreciate that you took the time to write to me, and I am going to screenshot this for a rainy (busy/bleak) day. 🙂
      Paige

  17. toughguy574
    September 3, 2016

    I certainly enjoy your insight and perspective toward life. However you decide to express yourself in the future, you’ve certainly imparted a little of your optimism and spirit through this. Regardless of your decision, have solace in that.

  18. sakshisinghbhadouriya
    September 3, 2016

    This is what I love about travelling you see so many strangers but you get attached to there story as it is your own
    Great story , good job ❤

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 4, 2016

      Yes, this is what my blog has helped me uncover and share. 🙂 It also means, I can’t stay still. 🙂
      Paige

  19. Thekimnovena
    September 5, 2016

    Loved it. 😍

  20. Nick van Dijk
    September 6, 2016

    Sweet! Never to old to smooch ‘;]’

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 8, 2016

      Absolutely! I can’t wait to get there myself. 🙂
      Paige

      • Nick van Dijk
        September 8, 2016

        The smoothies bit or getting old ‘;-D

  21. lifeloguesite
    September 8, 2016

    Cute chance encounters we miss noticing everyday.Well articulated and sweetly expressed.That love between the couple,giggles, and blushing is well visualised.My compliments dear.

  22. Duncan Campbell
    September 9, 2016

    It is so crazy to me that in an escalator in Budapest, even there, “Texas” makes light bulbs go off. I love it.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 12, 2016

      Duncan,
      🙂 “Don’t Mess With Texas” is a nice universal principle. If I could take the humidity, I’d be there myself.
      Paige

  23. Jodie Boast
    September 12, 2016

    Hi, I absolutely LOVE the concept of your whole blog. I cannot wait to go travelling and this just sums up a brilliant way to join writing and travelling, how original and creative! this particular story really stood out to me as me and my partner are rubbish at learning new languages and it sounds like some kind of situation we would find ourselves in. Please may I share some of your amazing writing onto my blog? For your travelling antics, I am extremely impressed!!! keep up with the wonderful yet interesting and enlightening writing, you will continue being an inspiration to me 🙂

  24. Cardinal Guzman
    September 12, 2016

    I went to Budapest for the tattoo convention. Nice, small convention. Some good artists. 😉

  25. Jay
    September 13, 2016

    My wife and I love escalators – we get always catch a long hug and a kiss if she stands a step above me and turns around. The town we live in now has one escalator in the casino – and we are not casino-goers. Escalator time is a rare and special treat for us 🙂

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 14, 2016

      Jay, think of all the stories you and your wife may have inspired on random blogs! How lovely! 😀
      Paige

  26. Browsing the Atlas
    September 20, 2016

    This is the kind of thing I’d scribble in a notebook, too.
    I was just in Budapest and tried to explain where I was from (Cincinnati). In English. But it meant nothing.I went with Chicago as my location link with them.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 27, 2016

      I’ve had this happen as I roam as well. There was a recent Turkish comedy film about a guy from a Turkish village marrying a foreign girl, Jessica, who came from Colorado. There’s a whole scene of people saying, “Colorado?!” So these days, the Turks at least have a point of reference. 🙂
      Paige

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This entry was posted on September 2, 2016 by in Travel.

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