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A Portrait of a Man

The man in question seemed entirely other from the rest of his sex. That is not to say that he possessed some sort of supreme abnormality that differentiated him; quite the opposite, really. He was but a man, rather thin and of around average height with lines about his thin, pointed face that marked his age. His chest was disproportionately broad in comparison to the lower half of his body which was presently hidden by the large wooden desk behind which he sat. Really, if one were to look without fully taking him in he or she would assume nothing of his true abnormality. In actuality, however, this man was a being entirely separate from the norm of his kind. In silent stillness, he possessed the air of an individual who had seen more of the world than he could ever tell about. His pointed chin seemed to belong far more upward in the air than he allowed it to go; he was too kind for that. The sandy colored hair was long and tied back. It was beginning to gray at the roots, though the rest maintained its full color, though one would only notice if they paid close attention. It remained in its place high upon his back and undisturbed by anything. Bright blue eyes stared fixedly down at his laptop computer and thick eyebrows furrowed in confusion over some trifling matter or another that he often had to deal with. It was difficult to see his eyes, really, as they were almost completely hidden by a long curtain of lashes that were the same sandy color as his head hair. Still, even hidden and unfocused on anything but his computer, the eyes were kind, possessing a sort of sweet quality that invited others to come to him. Parting them was a long, thin nose whose nostrils were often flared with well-contained exasperation at his students.

Suddenly the brow unfurrowed, and as he stared down at the computer, his rather thin lips curved into that distinctive not-quite-condescending smile his students – or, at least, one of his students – had become accustomed to. It would appear that he had read something that amused him slightly, but there was no way to be sure without asking. Perhaps he was no longer troubled by whatever matter had made him concentrate so diligently upon his computer screen. Yes, there it was ; his head had lifted and he looked about the room in a discrete gesture of inviting his students to question him. He met and held the gaze of one, silently answering in the affirmative the equally silent plea for help. The student came to sit in the small chair next to his. Shifting slightly to the right to make room for her , he listened politely to whatever had caused her academic distress in his class. She looked over at him as he stared off absently into space. He nodded occasionally at her words but would not meet her gaze as he thought about what she said. His already rounded shoulders slumped slightly more from an attempt at concentration. When she finished speaking he tilted his head slightly, still looking down, and thought for a moment before answering her. His hands folded together on his stomach has he leaned backwards in his chair. As he did so, his student looked intently at the side of his face and grinned wickedly, rather surprised at what she saw. There in his pointed, elf-like ear, hardly visible in the dim lighting of the classroom, was a hole. Once upon a time, her teacher had pierced his ear. Staring at it, the hole oddly enough seemed to fit in with the rest of his appearance, collared shirt, slacks, and all. The hole, and the earring she fondly imagined him wearing, contained just as much of a story as anything he could have verbalized. It was as much a part of him as anything else, and it wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It was that thought that held her smile as he confusedly gave that oh-so-familiar not-quite-condescending smile at her expression. She had seen the surest example of his being entirely other from the others of his sex. She had paid attention. It had paid off.



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