James Young

This is a character description I wrote for English class. The person is made up. I had to write a description for him, like the ones you read in the beginnings of novels. Enjoy.

It was raining the day I met him. Not heavy storm rain, pelting you from about, dropping off the roofs and gutters. Not afternoon rain, falling slowly for a short while then drying in the sun like it had never happened. No, it was autumn rain. Hanging in a fine mist, lasting for days. It was the kind of rain that soaked everything and everybody. The weather that caused tempers to flare and people to complain.

I had taken shelter in a café that day, the day the rain started. Not normally a coffee drinker, I indulge myself when it rains. The hot coffee, with plenty of milk and sugar, would penetrate the chill and fill my veins with energy. The atmosphere in the café helped me retain my sanity. Conversation interrupted the sound of the rain, the constant drip…drip.

I was sitting there with my coffee, the paper spread out on the table, when he walked in. The way he burst through the door, then paused to survey the room, led me to believe he'd never been there before. He was just another soaked soul, seeking refuge. I wondered if he had even stopped to realize it was a café before he came in.

He shifted across the room, spilling raindrops from his trench coat onto the gathered patrons. Part way to the counter he paused. Someone had called out to him, recognized him in the crowd. Going over to the table, he bent down to speak to his friend. He was not quick to smile, but smirked a little as the seated person spoke to him.

I took a sip of my coffee and turned the page. I had lost all interest in the newspaper, yet I attempted the appearance of concentration encase I was the subject of someone else's people watching. This act proved worthwhile when he suddenly looked in my direction. I automatically glanced down, pretending to read, lifting the rapidly cooling mug to my lips.

When I dared look up again, he had left his friend and gone over to the counter. The sounds in the café, of people talking and dishes clinking, were such that I could not hear his voice. His lips moved like in an old silent movie, emitting no sound. I could only guess what he had asked for, watching him gesture towards a posted menu. The cashier nodded and went to prepare the drink. The guy shifted back and forth while he waited. He looked out of place here. The whole room moved and vibrated with life. He stood still, dressed in dark clothes. His shoulder length hair had fallen into rat-tails from the rain. He brushed it back from his face and took a step forward.

The cashier came back to the counter with a mug of coffee. He placed it on the counter and waited while the guy in the trench coat fumbled in his pocket for some money. Locating a few coins, he dropped them on the counter and moved away. He had an odd stride, more of a shuffle then real walking. He moved as though a weight was on his shoulders, attempting to drag him down to earth. It could not win though; he bore the weight with good will, smiling to himself. A secret happiness was inside his head; reality would not distract him.

The table he chose was just one away from mine. Perhaps he would have sat at the next one, but it was occupied. Peeling off his overcoat, he exposed his saturated shoulders. The coat he wore appeared to have been good quality once, waterproof and warm. Unfortunately those days were long gone. It now absorbed the rain, offering his regular clothes no protection. The shirt below was also worn. It had the look of a garment that had been washed many times.

Hanging his coat on the back of his chair, he did not sit down like I expected him to. Instead he looked around and began walking in my direction! I dropped my eyes, glued them to the paper. I even absorbed part of an article, so desperate was I to look convincing. He was getting close; I could see his jeans, worn at the knees. His army boots not warped by the rain.

I slowly looked up, meeting his eyes. Never before had my people watching resulted in strangers walking up to me. Clearing his throat, he dropped his eyes. With a slightly rusted voice, edged with an accent, he asked me,

"Can I borrow the sports section? If you're done with it?"