The Official Writing Challenge
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First paragraph seemed isolated from the rest of the story. It wasn't clear if she would be returning or if she was leaving not to return. IMHO, the dialogue seemed a little stilted. I can't imagine a mother who had been waiting seven years to see her daughter simply saying, "It's been seven years since I've seen you," when she opens the door. Nice story line of "the prodigal" returning. :)
It's good to read of reunions like this. How painful to be separated for so many years from family. Truly a great thing to happen at Christmas--the past forgiven and a new start made.