Eavesdropping is one of the most time-honored NYC pastimes. It's a natural result of living in a highly populated city where you're frequently crammed in crowded spaces with strangers — elevators, restaurants, public transportation. But not a single Overheard in NYC moment I've experienced personally could have prepared me for the conversation overheard by Guggenheim Museum curator Chaedria LaBouvier.
When @chaedria began her live tweet of the conversation, it seemed like the start of a brutal breakup: "Overhearing this relationship in trouble on the shuttle bus and the guy just told the girl, 'I love you and I want to make us work but you're mean AS F--K and it's wearing me down.'"
As the couple's heart-to-heart unfolds, however, it becomes clear that, while this couple clearly has issues to work through, they have something worth fighting for. Sometimes real life can make you believe in love more than the best romantic movie or book.
Without the presence of a therapist of mediator, Chaedria quickly realizes, while she's witnessing two people really going through a rough patch, there's a lot to fight for.
The main issue appears to be the woman's anger and unwillingness to go to therapy about it.
This relationship dynamic isn't at all uncommon but in most cases you encounter, the genders are reversed. Usually, you find a man with anger issues who is reluctant to seek therapy to deal with it. But it seems pretty clear, whether it happened in a therapist's office or on his own, this is a dude who is way in touch with his feelings and exhibiting some next-level communication skills.
Look, if the above exchange doesn't make you tear up a little, I think you need to get your heart checked out. After the woman acknowledges she isn't giving her partner what he deserves he says, "I want a better you, not someone else."
Finding someone who inspires you to be the best version of yourself is pretty much the dream, and our narrator knows it...
As the woman begins to cry and leans against the man's chest, he wraps an arm around her and says, "I love you [nickname]. And I know that you love me I just...am tired of fighting you. I want to love you."
Seriously, somebody needs to option this bus chat for a movie.
It's not lost on Chaedria that she's witnessing a Notebook level romance scene unfolding in real time on an MTA shuttle bus. it's also kind of an incredible example of productive communication during a conflict. Witness what total Jedis these two are when it comes to making "I" statements and voicing their feelings!
And then, just when you don't think this moment can get more romantic, the couple moves to a seat in front of our faithful chronicler Chaedria to give her an even better vantage point for this next gesture of big, big love. After the heroine asks, "Why are you even still with me," he reaches into his wallet to show her an artifact he's been hanging onto for a long time.
This well dressed romantic AF dude has been carrying around a ticket stub for when they went to the ballet together, not because he's some huge fan of dance but because it reminds him of her and how much he wants to make her happy. Guys, I know nothing about this couple and I care more about their future than the majority of people whose weddings I've been to.
Sadly, the worst part of any eavesdropping session in NYC (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter), is that at any point circumstances will leave you hanging and you'll never get to see how things turn out. As these young lovers get within reach of their destination, however, we get a little glimpse of what might be next for the couple.
Though it seems clear this couple is in a much better place at this point in their heart-to-heart than they were when it started, the man makes it clear therapy is imperative if these two are going to be in it for the long haul. Thankfully, it seems she is willing to do the work. And I'm starting to think I understand why this man is such an excellent communicator. From his suggestion that his mom "has to" have recommendations for good therapists, perhaps she is one herself? Either that or she has done some serious work in therapy herself and imparted lots of tools to her son.
Chaedria is just as surprised as anyone following along with her story that what initially seemed like the beginning of a breakup may have been a super positive and extremely pivotal turning point for the young lovers. Here's hoping this now viral Twitter thread somehow makes its way back to the couple so we can get an update on where things stand now.
And thanks to @chaedria for missing her stop just to keep listening in and live-tweeting the greatest romance of our time.