Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stop and Stare

I walked in and ordered a hot chocolate because a) I'm a chocoholic, and b) I don't like coffee, although I had entered a coffee house, of sorts.

I walked out back to catch a view of the ocean. It was beautiful, as it always is.

I turned to go back inside and saw him. He was standing long and lean, dark eyes looking out from beneath a tattered baseball hat. His skin was darkened by the sun, screaming out from hours spent outdoors, that gorgeous colour I have always envied. He had a face I could not take my eyes from. A face so well-defined, I found myself imagining I was sitting at an easel, charcoal in hand, sketching the lines.

He began to turn and walk away. I'm not sure how much one can read in a walk. To me, it said he was accustomed to being on his feet, naturally inclined to balance and sport, but with a sense of caution that seemed to keep his confidence from full display.

And then he turned and I saw the other side. The other side of his face, that is. Dark, but not from sun. A map of dark burgundy-brown. A birthmark, a facial nevus, so prominent, it suddenly explained the slight air of guardedness.

I sat down and mingled a little with the girl behind the counter. As he paced back and forth, sipping, chatting with his friends, I couldn't help but allow my eyes to follow him. I was drawn.

He sat with his friends, then, and they brought out a guitar. He strummed along quietly in the corner. Everyone watched as they sang a few lines, hummed a few tunes. Not nearly loud enough to classify as entertainment, I thought, but loud enough that I could watch without suspicion. He seemed to open up then, chatting more, flirting a little with a girl who had stopped to speak to him. In that moment, he was a guy in his element. A guy who didn't have a single fault on display.

Most of us spend our lives, when we walk among strangers, with the ability to hide. We are not on display. We are just walking in and out of peoples lives with no reason for anyone to stop and stare. I wonder if he had the luxury. Was he teased? Did he try to hide? Had he learned to not notice when someone looked at him? Did he assume they looked at him because of his "flaw"?

I was happy, then, that I saw the un-marked side of his face first. I knew, without a doubt, that I had not stopped and stared for the wrong reason. I was the stranger in the crowd who noticed him simply for having one of the most beautiful faces I had ever seen. I wanted so desperately for him to know that.

I hope he has someone to tell him. I hope he believes it.

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