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I see every emotion and memory he hides so well

February 11, 2003
The Iranian

I always catch him when he is at his worst. The tiny bead of sweat rolling off his brow takes its time, gently traveling along the side of his face. Slowly, with the speed of a baby snail, it continues along its curvy path, not yet ready to say goodbye and part ways with his soft skin. In the end, it meets defeat; there is no other way but to fall into oblivion.

Wondering what it is that is the driving force behind his reason to work so hard. I watch as he smiles at the strangers he comes across. The corners of his lips dance upwards then down again, with a flash of perfectly white teeth in between. Does he know that Aquafresh and Crest would probably kill to have him star in their commercials?

I sit down, smiling inwardly to myself, and he immediately raises his hand towards me from across the room... Hello, friend.

He is feet and inches and maybe even miles away from me, yet I can feel the scent of his aftershave teasing my nose. I have never touched it with my fingertips, never traced the lines and wrinkles with my nails, yet I am sure his face is smooth. I am sure he is the old-fashioned type; the ones who use the round wooden brushes to spread the creme over their faces before running the razor across. There is no visible sign of any nicks or cuts. Not on his face, anyway. His heart is an entirely different matter, a place I have yet to reach.

His father must have taught him well. He must have sat next to his dad on lazy weekend mornings, his speckled-green eyes glued to the bathroom mirror as his dad taught him the lessons of adulthood. That was all a long time ago. Too long, not long ago...

His eyes are his character-defining feature. He is the first person I have ever known who makes me afraid to look into his eyes. The intensity that I sometimes find locked within him is overpowering. I stare into the windows to his soul and see every emotion and memory he hides so well from everyone else. The strength behind those eyes brings a shiver down my spine. Working his way through school, having grown up too quickly, having lost the ones he loved most...

But there also exists within those tortured eyes a sparkle whose match I never encountered before.

Hours can pass, spending time watching him, and yet for me, leaving is the best part. You see, working here, with my friends, in my personal space, he is beginning to master the art of being "Persian". I stand to walk past him towards the door, waving goodbye to everyone else, and he leans down, kissing my cheeks with those perfect lips.

Kiss to the left.

Kiss to the right.

And we part until next time.

Thank God I'm Persian!

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