His beard was fascinating.
It was a loom, woven with intricate detail and so long it would put any wizard to shame. Each pattern in the coarse mound of hair seemed to share a secret. Perhaps they were memories- I’d heard others collect memories in such ways- etchings on their bodies, collecting objects and even journal writing. Maybe this man was his own journal.
The rest of him seemed positively ordinary. He rested in his chair in a blue business suit- albeit a little outdated for fashion, but suited the character I had begun to form in my head for him. His sorrowful eyes narrowed on a frustrated brow of greying features, illuminating a sense of tiredness. Perhaps the beard in all its might was weighting down. His skin was as rough as sandpaper, blotches and scars etching his hands and face with no revelation to the puzzle of his beard.
I wanted to move closer, debating whether it was rude to ask. The very notion excited me as I built up theories as to why his beard had these patterns. He was an explorer who had woven secret treasure maps into his hair, or a historian creating a timeline he’d never lose. In my daydreams, I pegged him as a time traveller- where the knots were the coordinates to his true timeline before deciding he was a priest, whose religion asked for these hairy chains to be forged, to remember sin. He was a powerful man who made difficult decisions, repenting for each one by casting it visually in his beard.
The beard was fascinating. Too fascinating.
For the entire thought process, I had forgotten I was sat in a doctor’s surgery. A pathetic water feature trickled in the centre of a dull waiting room as grumpy faces of impatience analysed the other patients determined they were next in the queue. The bearded man was juxtaposed to the water feature, directly opposite me. I made sure when his eyes flicked in my direction I focussed on that water until I felt the eyes no longer on me. What if he’d seen me? What if I had discovered his secret?
A door handle squeaked further down a corridor as every head lifted like an excited pack of meerkats. The footsteps of the young doctor crept towards the crowd before cheerily announcing
“Mr Bakely please”
He rose slowly, ignoring the scorns of the impatient patients. The beard was even longer than I first realised and even more exciting as the brown furl unravelled.
“Now that is an impressive beard!” the doctor exclaimed chirpy, “any reason behind such wonderful patterns?”
I leant with excitement desperate for the man’s response. My mouth opened ready to inhale the wander this answer would possess. This was far to exciting, I was surprised I hadn't fallen off my chair in eagerness.
“Me wife” A broad Yorkshire accent emerged. “She likes to knit and gets carried away”
The doctor let out a chortle of delight.
I sank back in my chair, hot with the disappointment and dejection of my daydream.