He came to sign-in for the class, and I noticed the tattoo on his arm right away. I’d seen his face in a previous class, but hadn’t noticed the tattoo. It was of the Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth – one of my favorite movies.
I saw him during the class break and told him how much I liked his tattoo. He smiled (a gorgeous smile!) and told me how not a lot of people seem to know where it’s from. I told him that my six-year-old loves the movie and thinks the Pale Man is awesome. We laughed, because my child doesn’t understand this creepy-but-awesome-looking character eats children.
At lunch, I noticed him sitting away from the other students so I asked if I could join him. That smile almost knocked me over. We talked about the class, where he works, the program he’s in, and how he’s not sure what classes he has left to take.
When class was over and the certificates had been distributed, I said good-bye and went back to my office. I checked his record and sent him an email listing the classes he has remaining. He emailed me back and told me that I rock.
Here’s the thing. This is kind of big for me. Even if we never speak again, I did something brave. Something that truly terrifies me. I walked up to him and started a conversation. And then I asked to join him at lunch. This isn’t something I would have done before. But something told me to talk to the man with the Pan’s Labyrinth tattoo. Something in his smile told me that I didn’t have to be afraid.
I was nervous, almost shaking in my shoes as I approached him. But I did it. I stepped out of my comfort zone and I didn’t even feel like I wanted to vomit.