The Face Betrays

I had always known him as a happy, gregarious man until I accidentally got a clearer glimpse into his soul. That moment felt like a little electric shock to my perception – startling and disorienting.

During a meeting at work, in a moment when he wasn’t smiling or talking I happened to glance at his face and I almost murmured my surprise out loud at what I saw. His eyes looked deeply, deeply sad. The lines emanating out from the corners of his eyes and the ever so slight wrinkle in his forehead that seemed deeply written into his face jumped out at me for the first time. It was as though years of sadness and a thousand moments of weeping had etched themselves into his fascial muscles and his skin.

I never saw him like this before. I guess I never really saw his face before – I never really, really looked at it. But now, in this disjointed moment in a conference room, I had inadvertently broken through his mask to the world and seen into his heart and soul. I didn’t mean to. I just stumbled upon this. I felt like an intruder for seeing his hidden emotions so clearly. A thief broken into a house and rifling through personal items in the bedroom.

But here it was, so obvious and just written on his face like a sign. How had I missed it all this time? Had I never really just looked at his face, just seen him? Had I always been so caught up in my own thoughts that I missed the very basic message etched into his eyes?

Could a person really carry his deepest feelings and thoughts so obviously on his face? Could I see this on everyone’s faces? Do I do that?