My partner, unlike me, managed to remember her playlist and thankfully was able to teach for me until Esteban appeared in the classroom with my phone 15 minutes later. As I stared at it, he pointed to a man standing just outside the classroom waving and smiling at me.
George had up and flown out of the house and driven the half hour to the gym to bring me the phone so I could teach my Zumba class and so Ana, my co-teacher, could get a break before her next group exercise class.
This happened today - one day after our wedding anniversary.
The first time I met my George was at Tante Suzy's house. His family was friends with my aunt and uncle and were visiting from New York, and we all were having dinner. I don't remember how me and my siblings got up to Cleveland, nor do I recall where my parents were. I don't remember their presence.
But I do remember his.
All of us cousins, siblings, and friends chatted at dinner. We were going to build the coolest ever shopping mall. And it was going to be constructed like a pyramid. The Pyramid Mall because we're Egyptian and it made sense. Laughter decorated my aunt's dining room that night as we ate her famously delicious food. Wit and silliness kept up the liveliness, and, with his easy, hearty laugh, so did George, who barely spoke five words.
There was something about his smile.
I didn't understand the attraction at the time. But I was not about to go home and announce to my parents, who had always forbidden dating, that I had fallen in love with a boy's smile.
But I had because sometimes you get so used to the fake smiles that they become the normal ones, and then, when a real one comes along, you know it. You discover it, like spotting a giant, fuzzy, romantic golden moon on the horizon way back behind the tree line when it seems like you can just reach out your hand and touch it, but you can't. And sometimes you just know when the smile is for you and when it's not. Smiles are continually misused as masks to hide pain, truths, lies, opinions, and motives. A smile can hide a quiet volcano of feelings.
A smile can hurt. But the less that fears are allowed to rumble inside you, the more your smile will do what it's supposed to do...
Comfort, show kindness, forgive, welcome, cherish, reassure, love, think pure.
George's smile did those things more than a few times. So I married him.
Happy 20th, my love.
|Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant, German Village|