|September 14, 2014|
They had been in the office for quite a while. She sat at the old coffee table with her purse resting against the leg beside her while she carefully and methodically folded the edges one way and then the other before tearing them off of the printer paper. She knew that this job belonged to her as long as she wanted it. She was glad to be in here with him. Every now and then she would stop what she was doing just to look up at him. She could only see the side of his face because he was looking at his computer screen. He had a look of concentration and he seemed to be pushing the same button over and over again. The machine was big and she didn't have a clue as to what he was doing. She just loved being with him.
All of a sudden, he turned toward her with his hands on his knees and asked if she had finished her work. He announced that it was time for another job. They closed the door on the office and headed down the hall. He stopped at the closet and she waited beside him to see what he would pull out this time. Excitement washed over her when he turned around with a single white paper plate. He didn't have to tell her what it was for. She knew.
They headed down the stairs and stopped by the front door to lace up their shoes before going outside. She ran ahead of him to the small grove of trees that she thought of as "her" forest. They chose the best leaves and acorns and even a few of the spiney balls that always fascinated her. She continued searching and he puttered around the yard. She didn't mind that he had left her to choose the rest of the pieces by herself. She would look for something really pretty to surprise him.
When she was finished, she used both hands to carry her treasures over to the front porch where he had settled into a lawn chair. He helped her up into his lap and they looked at each one. With the patience of an old man who recognized the wonder of youth, he listened as she talked about why she chose the pieces that she had in her hands. This was her favorite part.
Later they would head into the house and he would help her get started with the process of attaching them to the plate with Elmer's glue. They would sit at the table and he would read the paper while he waited for her to finish. When the glue was dry enough, he would take the nature plate and hang it with the others in the office on the closet door. They would stand and admire the plates and talk about what made each one special.
She would look up at him and he would look down at her and the smile on his face would stay with her forever. She would never forget the way that smile made her feel. He smiled more with his eyes than any other part of his face. It communicated deep joy and pride and safety. His smile held so many words and she heard every one of them...
But right now they were sitting on the porch having a conversation that didn't have to end. She knew these moments were special, but it wasn't until many years later that she really understood why.
* * *
Although this piece may read like fiction, it's true.
It's my story and it's about a smile that
I've loved as long as I can remember.
You can read another one like it HERE.
I am also writing over at The Quiet Place Blog today, so go say hello over THERE! :)