It was just another beautiful, summer day in the small town. Small children were riding their bikes along the sidewalks. Their laughter filled the air. Older children, who usually found more fun laying around than being productive, were outside enjoying the summer sun at local lakes and pools. Parents talked with each other as they participated in various activities outside. Such as water plants or cutting grass or even having a barbeque.
It was a perfect day for everyone except for Serenity. She stood at her window, looking through the lace curtains at all that happened in her neighborhood. She found it peaceful to watch them. Today, however, it didn't offer its usual solace. In contrast to her name she was anything but serene most of the time. Serenity was fidgeting in her place. It was the day when she was finally going to go outside and interact with her neighbors, but with that action came the anxiety of executing it.
Serenity moved from her spot and paced back and forth from her kitchen to her living room. After a few moments she let out a frustrated growl, waking the sleeping dog in the corner. The beagle woke and lifted up its head, watching its owner's struggle before yawning and settling back into its bed. Serenity looked outside one last time before steeling her nerve and deciding it was now or never.
She approached the door, but the closer the got the worse she felt. Her heart was racing and her breath quickened. She started to feel dizzy and nauseous. Thoughts swirled in her head. What if they didn't like her? What if they thought she was creepy because of the way she would watch everyone from inside her home? What if she couldn't find the right words to speak to them and made a fool of herself? By the time she reached the door she couldn't take it. Everything went black as she hit the floor.
Serenity woke up a while later to her pet licking her cheek. She groaned as she rose from her spot on the hardwood floor. She looked at the front door that stood tall in front of her and balked. Deep inside her she knew she couldn't do it. Her heart longed for the contact that it lacked. Friends weren't common for her. Her head, however, wouldn't allow it. The anxiety wouldn't go away no matter how much she willed it to.
Tears accumulated in her eyes. Her puppy barked and pawed at her in an effort to comfort her. Serenity picked up the small pooch and cuddled with it. She retook her place in her familiar chair by the window and watched everyone live their lives. Her fear had won again. She sighed dejectedly and watched with longing eyes as the citizens of her neighborhood played out their lives.
Something caught her eye though. It was a little girl. She smiled and waved at Serenity in the window. Serenity wasn't sure how to respond at first, but soon opted to wave back. The little girl looked over the moon at the returned gesture and motioned for her to join her on the street. Serenity shook her head and backed away from the window. She looked towards her door and considered giving into the girl's request so she wouldn't hurt her feelings.
Her puppy perked up and barked at the door when a delicate knock sounded throughout the foyer. Serenity knew who it was but considered not answering. She knew it would be rude, but her feelings from earlier rose to rear its ugly head. The next knock was louder. She swallowed against the dryness in her mouth and throat and went to answer the door. Instead of just seeing the little girl, there was a middle-aged man standing with her.
"I'm sorry to bother you, but my little girl wanted to know if you would like to join us for dinner. I tried to convince her not to bother you, but she was very determined and wouldn't give up. So would you like to join us for dinner?" He smiled at Serenity and patiently waited for her answer. She noticed her mouth was agape and promptly shut it before licking her lips, preparing to speak.
"That sounds lovely, but I don't want to cause an intrusion," she spoke softly. His laughter was loud and abrupt. It caused her to recoil back from the pair.
"I'm sorry for laughing, it's just you're not intruding. I don't feel obligated to invite you to dinner. I want to. In fact, since you've moved in we've all been waiting to get to know you. So what do you say? Will you join us?"
She could tell he was a kind man and he seemed to be telling the truth. In a hesitant manner Serenity nodded. Her puppy, during their conversation, had found its way to the little girl and was keeping them both entertained. The man's smile brightened at her acceptance.
"Dinner is at six. You don't have to bring anything, just your appetite." He waved to her as he led his daughter away. Serenity returned the favor and closed the door. She felt better and hopeful after her interaction. Serenity grinned.
‘Maybe,' she thought, 'this will be the push I needed.'