Jingly Fire

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

  • Cindy Chao

    Cindy Chao

Written by Cindy Chao (Contest Entry)


Feeling weary, I pressed the doorbell of yet another house, wondering if the outcome would be similar to the previous ones. I flexed my fingers and blew my breath over them, trying to get some feelings back into the frozen numb hands. A shiver coursed through my body as the bone-chilling wind blew past by. It was such a gloomy day; the weather was cold, the sky was clouded over. A possible lone white flake was slowly drifting down, as if hinting to the world below of unseasonable changes to come.

The door opened.

A lady stuck out her head. “May I help you?”

“Oh, yes. I’m fundraising for the Canadian Cancer Society. Would you be interested in supporting us?” I hastily explained my purpose, hearing my own mechanical voice drone out, as this was apparently a well-rehearsed phrase repeated for many times.

Suddenly, I took note of a pair of timid eyes peering out at me from behind the lady’s legs. It belonged to a brown-haired little girl with the same soft features as her mother’s.

Upon meeting my eyes, the little girl ran back inside, seemingly afraid of strangers.

Smiling, I looked up at the lady who was fumbling with her purse.

“Sorry, this is all I’ve got.” She said apologetically as she handed over a few coins.

“No, no, that’s quite all right.” I smiled reassuringly as I added the coins into the light-weighted envelope. Finally, another bit of contribution to add after being gently or subtly turned down at numerous doorsteps. To think that this will help in making a difference, perhaps in saving more lives or maybe in developing a new drug for cancer.

“Here,” a tiny hand held out some pennies, along with a dime gleaming amidst the copper brown.

Startled, I glanced downward to see the little girl holding out her hands, grinning from ear to ear as she waited for me to collect her part of the donation. The money in her hand had obviously come from the tiny little box that served as her piggybank lying beside her feet.

“Thank you,” I held her eyes for a moment as I bent down to retrieve the precious pledge of charity from the child with meek brown eyes glowing with innocence. “Thank you very much.”

Turning back, I waved at the mother and daughter as they slowly closed the door. I hugged the pledge form close to me. Despite the grayness of the surroundings, traces of warmth slowly rose from within, as if a river of gentle and soothing heat flowed through my veins.

Where did the peculiar sensation come from? Did it come from the act of childish innocence and selfless giving that somehow touched an unknown spot in my heart? Or maybe, it came from the warmth that the jingling metals within the envelope were silently, relentlessly radiating.


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