It’s hard to describe. It’s that expression that catches you off guard- where they become doe-eyed and soft. Their eyebrows lift ever so slightly and they look at you, really look at you, as if trying to take you all in. It’s like they’re refocusing and constructing a macro image of you, like you’re far too close and they’re stepping back with their mind’s eye. They don’t smile as they do this, nor do they frown. It looks as if you could break their concentration at any moment but you don’t want to. I imagine that it has the same effect as squinting at a dark splotch on a piece of printed paper but on a bigger scale. Or, I’d liken it to what happens when you’re confronted with a landscape of green and sky and open space and it’s just too much for your eyes to swallow. You doubt that they’re really listening to the words you’re saying even though they’re nodding and at least looking into your eyes. At your nose. Your lips. You in your entirety (or at least it seems that way). And then that look melts away, gone as quickly as it had appeared. You dismiss it and carry on the conversation. But you’ll remember it.
Perhaps I read too much into people’s expressions or perhaps I know that look because I’ve done it myself. It doesn’t happen often but when it does (and it has- three times, I recall), it’s one of the loveliest, most flattering things in life. Not simply because they like your face, but because they’re kind of awe-struck (for want of a better word), absorbing the moment and appreciating you as the being that you are in front of them. You’re here! You’re this weird, talking, living, breathing mass with all these little quirks and cells and things that are different from me yet you’re great and this is great wowow… ramble ramble.
At least, that’s how I’d describe that look on my face.