Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Family Reunion (06/05/08)
TITLE: The Warmth of a Smile
By Peggy Yengling
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As if to say, “Too late”, our exit suddenly appeared. No turning back, now. Almost defiantly, I grabbed the wrinkled sheet with the directions to our hotel. The car seemed to fly as we made our way through the town and we found our hotel within minutes.
I looked around and hoped we wouldn’t see any familiar faces just yet. Feeling a bit disheveled from the long trip, I wanted to freshen up and prepare myself for the initial greetings. Somehow, I thought straightening my outward appearance would also straighten my emotions.
Inside our room, it seemed to take an eternity for me to unpack, and then I kept fussing with my outfit which I was sure wouldn’t be chic enough. Looking out the window and taking in the view of the town square, I seemed to be waiting for some type of inspiration or encouragement. Telling myself, “This is not about me,” I tried to convince myself to focus on reuniting with my family and push my own insecurities away.
My husband tried to hurry me along - he was excited and eager to go. Somehow, he never felt hesitant to jump in and greet the world. Fears and worries did not pull him down. His smiling face always drew people to him and he never appeared to fret about what others might think of him. At that moment, I almost resented his ability to enjoy the company of others and interact with them so confidently. After wrestling with that annoyed attitude for several minutes, I suddenly felt my mind clear. This was supposed to be a joyful occasion filled with people whom I’ve known and loved for years. It was to be a wonderful opportunity to catch up with one another’s lives, a time of sharing – not comparing. This was not meant to be a competition; rather, it was to be a gathering of loved ones who shared the special bond of being a family.
I thought about my husband’s smile. What better way to draw people to us than to warm them with a smile. Seeing my family react to my happy expression, my own insecurities were bound to melt away. Soon, my shaky smile would be replaced with a glowing, natural smile that would reflect my genuine happiness to be with those who had traveled so far to be with me.
I leaned over and gave my husband a warm hug and a wink. Not sure what to make of it, he just smiled the biggest smile I’ve seen in a long time. Two happy people left the room and eagerly rushed to the waiting elevator, full of expectancy and excitement. This was going to be fun.
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