I like this, and I hope it comes across. It’s about as subtle as I wanted to get. There’s a tranquil exterior to Gravedust here but a storm raging inside him, just visible if you look at him just right.

The parenthetical digressions are the biggest clue. They’re informed by sentiment, by emotions he’s less comfortable with than thoughtful poise, but emotions he may be powerless to deny. Then he pulls the old rhetorical trick of “My FRIEND would say…I mean, this isn’t me talking of course, but SHE would claim…”

The Tranquil Gravedust Exterior fights to maintain itself. “It would betray everything I stand for,” the exterior concludes, and if that was genuinely true, the discussion should be settled. Is it?