My response to the prompt ‘elegant‘.
Her family wasn’t part of royalty, or nobility, or any ‘upper class’ circles.
But they certainly had the elegance to pass as one.
For generations, her family was known for their graceful demeanour. No one had any training or instructors, the smooth movements and soothing tones just came naturally to the children as they aged.
Except her. Every family had their black sheep. She was the clumsy sheep of the family.
Not that she was a klutz who tripped over every bump and corner, but compared to her family, she looked like she was trying to move with borrowed limbs. Trying to match them only made her more uncoordinated, not that it stopped her attempts. After a spectacularly disastrous failure, her father drew her aside.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
She hadn’t meant to, but the fresh humiliation lifted the filter that usually guarded her words and her frustrations gushed out. Her jealousy of her sibling’s easy grace, the disappointment in her own inadequacy, the fear that she wasn’t truly one of them.
Her father listened patiently to her woes, and after she had blurted out everything that had weighed her down over the years, he said, “You say our family heritage is elegance. Have you met your grandfather?”
She thought about the elderly head of the family… and his loud laughter as he patted people on the back hard enough to send them to the ground if they weren’t ready.
“So you know how he is, but people flock to him regardless.”
Now that he mentioned it, it certainly was rare to find her grandfather alone.
“Our family heritage isn’t elegance, it’s charisma. All of us have a way of attracting people to us. For many of us in the family, that’s elegance. For you, it’s your energy. Don’t smoother your own talents to copy ours.”
In the empty room, away from the rest of the guests, a small part of her still thought he only said that because he was her father and it was his job to say nice things about his own offspring. After a hug and a kiss to the top of her head, they left the room to join the rest.
For a few moments, she stood at the edge, watching all the people mingling with each other in her living area.
Then other people joined her, and she found herself back in the easy conversations she had with them before her father pulled her aside.
Across the room, her father caught her gaze and sent her a smile. She smiled back.
She wasn’t elegant like the rest of her family, but she had certainly inherited the family charisma.