Character Sketch

“But the best thing about my art is this, that it can test in every way whether the mind… is bringing forth a mere image, an imposture, or a real and genuine offspring.”

- Plato

Recently I had occasion to drop off a package at the receptionist’s desk in a spiffy new office building. The walls were a soothing shade of green, plants sat in tasteful arrangements, and the lighting – wow! The lighting was great. Not the cadaver-inducing flourescence I’ve come to expect from such a place; rather, a soft and flattering light emanated from pot lights above the receptionist’s desk. A lovely slab of green marble made up the counter of the desk, and there I cooled my elbows while I waited for the receptionist to finish her telephone call.

Well, she finished it. And then, without giving me a glance, she punched a button and took another call.

My elbows grew tired. I put down the package and half-listened to the receptionist’s end of the call. Her voice was bland and impersonal. Eventually, she finished call #2. I drew breath to speak, but her finger found another button and she took call #3. Still no eye contact.

I studied her.

Dull blond hair to her shoulders. A white sleeveless eyelet-cotton blouse, buttoned to the neck, which did little for her pale complexion, even in the lovely soft light. She had pointed features ending in a nose too long for her face. Unremarkable eyes, but it was hard to distinguish the colour as she hadn’t yet arranged them in my direction.

After the receptionist launched into call #4, I picked up my keys and rattled them. Still not a glance from her. I dropped the keys with a clatter onto the marble counter-top. Nothing.

It was then I noticed the wart.

Below the cuff of her eyelet-cotton blouse, near her shoulder, sat a wart. The soft lighting from above sent the shadow of her wart  cascading down her pale, slender arm.

I took out my notebook, and while the receptionist took call #5, I took notes. Finally, she hung up, turned her vacant blue eyes in my direction, and said, “Yes?”

I finished writing my notes, handed her the package, and thanked her.

Someday I might just write about that wart.

Categories: General.