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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)

TITLE: So, What is She Anyway?
By Angela M. Baker-Bridge


“Trust me, my family will love you.”

I really wanted to believe him but the knot in my stomach grew with each breath.

“How can you be sure? You keep telling me we’re from two different worlds.”

“I can’t hear you, wait for the next light,” he yelled. His hotrod was extra noisy as the wind rattled the flimsy convertible top.

At the first red light, Liam stopped and looked at me.

“Look, I know my parents. They’ve always supported my decisions and will now too. They know I love you and will love you for my sake. It’s that simple. I know that’s hard for you to understand because your family doesn’t trust me, but my family’s different. Got it? Now please, just relax already!” Liam leaned over to kiss me as the car behind us honked its horn.

Unfazed by the angry driver, my young prince charming resumed driving his chariot, a yellow GT Cyclone with a blaring eight-track and additional speakers. His body swayed to the music as I checked the visor mirror one more time.

Turning down Grand Boulevard, I immediately noticed how closely the homes stood to each other. There were parked cars lining the street, small driveways led to carports. Children and teens played outside on what they referred to as the “island”. Liam’s neighborhood didn’t look anything like mine did.

After parking his car, Liam looked at me and laughed. “If you could see your face...”

Quickly I pulled down the visor mirror again. “What? What’s wrong with my face?”

“It’s nothing make-up will hide. It’s called fear.”

“Look, I’ve already told you, I’ve never met a guy’s family before. On top of that, we’re engaged and your parents never had a chance to meet me. Plus, they think you’ve got religion just to impress me and my family, not because you want to be a Christian. I don’t think the deck is stacked in my favor, you know. Oh no, is that your mom looking out the front window?”

“Yes it is. Just smile and wave, here goes. Like I said, this will be a piece of cake.”

When I opened the car door, the chilly autumn air took my perspiring skin by surprise. Quickly I wiped my damp hands on my skirt, straightened my hair, and walked to the front of the car where Liam waited. I felt like I was walking up the sidewalk of doom to the house of horrors. Before reaching the front steps, Liam’s dad pushed open the screen door and stepped outside.

His middle-aged balding dad, cigarette dangling from his lips, looked me up and down. Without warning, he blurted out, “So what the heck are you, anyway?”

“Dad! Is that how you say hello?” Liam squeezed my hand in his.

“Well, what nationality is she; she’s definitely darker than we are.”

I felt my face blush as tears welled in my eyes. As they tumbled down my cheeks, I tried to gather my wits about me. At nineteen years old, I wasn’t prepared for his bluntness.

“She’s Italian,” Liam responded.

“Good,” his dad began, “because I got tons of Italian jokes. Did you hear the one about…?”

Nothing coming out of his mouth registered with me. His words competed with my racing heart and pounding headache. Reaching the top step, we paused, allowing him to finish his joke. I forced a smile, extended my hand, and introduced myself. Liam opened the screen door for me so I could walk past his dad. Their small living room housed uncles, aunts, cousins, and dogs.

Liam’s dad followed us in, shouting, “Hey everybody, she’s Italian.”

“Perfect,” answered an uncle sitting in a tan recliner near the television. “I just heard a new joke today I haven’t told anyone yet.”

One-by-one, ethnic jokes and obscenities came my way. I tried to smile politely, while cringing inside. Excusing myself, I sought refuge in the kitchen with Liam’s mom and aunts.

“Don’t let them get to you or they’ll never let up. They’re harmless old Archie Bunker fans, that’s all. You’ll get used to it,” they laughed.

That night safely snuggled in my smoke-free bed, I cried to God. “I don’t want to get used to it Lord.”

Softly, God answered. “Liam’s family is why my Son died. He was ridiculed for their sake … you can be ridiculed for mine. Just be my light* in their darkness. Let them see me.”

As I did, we became family for eternity.

*“to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Acts 26:18 (NIV)

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This article has been read 655 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/15/08
I was cringing with you at your introduction to your in-laws, but I love how you became "family" with those you didn't think you would...through God's help.
Lollie Hofer05/16/08
This was a wonderful story with an eternal message of love. Well done. Your words showed well your fear and nervousness at meeting the family. The ending was encouraging, reminding me that God's plans for us are best, if we can trust Him with them. The scripture fit very well with the story.
Gregory Kane05/17/08
This is a deliciously, delicate story. I think that I would have spoiled it by inserting an actual Italian joke. So very well done. A pleasure to read.
Joanne Sher 05/17/08
Oh - excellent dialog and descriptions especially. I laughed in more places than I probably should have. A delightful piece.
Debbie Wistrom05/21/08
Wow-the harshness of people.
Your MC held up well.
I wish I could remember to talk to God when things aren't going so well.
Loved this.
RuthAnn Cornelson05/21/08
Good descriptions and realistic dialogue. A sad commentary on certain aspects of our society. I'm glad she had the strength and love to stick it out. I'm not sure I would have, even for the sake of the Kingdom. Good job.
Benjamin Graber05/21/08
It is interesting to think about how much divides us, but love unites us in spite of all our differences...
Great story! You had me hooked!
Sara Harricharan 05/21/08
Great job! The title fit in perfect and I'm glad that she's 'sticking with it' it does take something to do that. Great job. ^_^
Beckie Stewart05/21/08
Ouch. I really struggled with anger surfacing me as I have a real issue with people treating others like this. This was well written.
Cheri Hardaway 05/21/08
Well done, and a very convincing message with it! God will often ask us to love those who are unlovable to Himself. Nice job. Blessings, Cheri
Glynis Becker05/21/08
I was really crying with her at the beginning and I love how you reminded us of what's really important in the end. Great job!
Joshua Janoski05/22/08
Wow. You really sucked me in to this story. I was cringing the entire time that she was first meeting the dad. I liked how you ended this. It's true that we are to be lights to those living in darkness.
Joanne Sher 05/23/08
Congratulations, Angel, on placing 10th in your level and 28th overall. Great job!