It was the first conversation that initially sparked my interest to know more. I knew he was different in the first few minutes we started to dialogue. He was direct and spoke my name clearly making eye contact that most people find uncomfortable, but to him seemed to be second nature. He, like I, knows people, he is a charmer and can put on a good show. Everyone sees him as easy-going and fun, they look to him to bring the party, a leadership role he gladly takes on with ease. Which is something I admire about him, he can engage a room full of people if he so chooses but that is not the man that I am curious about.
Sure there are the usual stories that he tells everyone, those stories come easy and every word is spoken with confidence. His opinions and stories are supported and amplified by his hand gestures and delivered from a laid back frame of mind. Then there are the answers to questions that require a moment of attentive silence before the words flow with careful selection. He even deliberately over communicates himself in order to achieve calculated clarity. Some questions he answers openly and thoughtfully but some of the deeper subjects he answers with the walls up. His face is serious and the body language is gone, everything is still as he speaks. The words still sincere but delivered with careful control and a precision that makes me curious about the reasons for all the effort exerted for that one sentence. I see the conflict in his eyes and how he tries to pursue favorable outcomes but I can’t help but think sometimes he completely misses the mark. I can see there is a depth to him that he guards with his life, but I wonder why. The questions in me rise but I stay silent.
The walls are built so high that I fear who he really is will always be a mystery to me. Even still I am captivated by every word carefully studying his movements, searching for anything that will clue me in on the truth of it all. Then there are these moments, that are over as quickly as they came, that take my breath away, like a startling surprise of sweetness, where the gates are completely open. And I see him for just a second, his face is relaxed and the passion in his voice is rich. Suddenly there is an authenticity that can’t be mistaken. It’s like someone walked into the forbidden room and as the door swings open then closed again I catch a glimpse of the interior just long enough to be in awe of its radiance and then the door clicks back into place. I secretly wish for those moments like a child that wishes for ice cream for dessert. The sheer freedom in those moments is so sweet no matter how simple the topic. When they happen my eyes get bright with excitement and my awareness sky rockets because I don’t want to miss a thing. I see the sparkle in his eyes when the topic is fascinating to him. Or the memories that flood his face when he’s speaking of his past. I see the inner struggle that furrows his brow when he’s trying to decide if he’s made the right decisions. I’ve seen the anxiety wash over him as he’s walks himself though every outcome of his choices and then observe as he transforms into a stranger. His mannerisms remain kind but at the root is a cold disconnection. A defense against the overwhelming emotions that he has unearthed.
I don’t take any word for granted. I must say that I respect the way that he guards his heart and I’m fascinated by his ways. His thought processes are so unique to me. He has allowed me pieces that make a beautiful mosaic but I know the whole is more mesmerizing than just the pieces. There is more to the story. I know that he is a treasure and I want to discover why. Each conversation reveals another dimension of his character and with patience I collect the facts that I’m allowed. I can’t put my finger on the appeal of his mystery, or why it has fueled my curiously to know more. I think that it’s because rarely do I meet someone with such undiscovered depth that I just want to know them. But it is difficult to know someone that seems to not want to be known. The truth is unknown but the conversations are quite interesting and they make me smile. He changes my days one conversation at a time. Within this year he has drawn me out of myself in ways that I don’t even think that he realizes. Friendships like that are one in a million and I’m just happy to have had the first conversation. I expect many words with varying weights will be exchanged through the years and I’m content to just be a friend privy to these small but memorable encounters.