Write here: How to thaw a frozen heart

Write here: How to thaw a frozen heart

This week’s short story, written by Chloe Lau Hong-ching, a 13-year-old student at St Mary’s Canossian College, teaches the importance of kindness

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A life-changing event thaws an old bus driver's heart.
Photo: Felix Wong/SCMP

Every human starts life as an innocent baby, but as time passes, they forget their kindness and become bitter. That’s exactly what happened to Kevin.

Kevin was once a nice little boy, but he was shy, and this led to him being picked on by his classmates. He tried to remain happy, but life gradually chipped away at his happiness, and by the time he was grown up, there was no love or kindness left in him. His heart was frozen. There was only one person in the world that could melt it. And that was Daphne.

Daphne was the opposite of Kevin. Her heart was a garden that sprouted new shoots of love each day, and her smile was more enchanting than you could imagine. What Daphne saw in Kevin is a mystery, but she had never met anyone she didn’t like, and she wasn’t about to make an exception for Kevin.

Kevin and Daphne got married, and on their wedding day, Kevin smiled for the first time in years. Sadly, that was also his last smile, for even though he loved Daphne dearly, he spent the next 20 years of their marriage as grumpy as ever.

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A bad day

Fast-forward 50 years, and both Daphne and Kevin were looking forward to their approaching retirement; Kevin worked as a bus driver, while Daphne had become a successful office worker.

The shrill sound of the alarm clock woke Kevin up. He scowled and looked at the clock. It was 6.30 in the morning. He sighed, already annoyed at the long day ahead driving a bus. The only thing that gave him pleasure was speeding away from the bus stop when someone was running to catch it. Kevin grabbed his uniform and a loaf of bread for his breakfast, and shouted “bye” to his wife. Daphne rushed after him.

“It’s raining today, honey,” she said. “Please be careful on the roads, okay?”

“I’ll be fine,” Kevin replied impatiently. Somehow, he had woken up on the wrong side of the bed, and was in a very bad mood. Daphne was hurt by Kevin’s curtness, but smiled and waved him off all the same.

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Kevin’s mood grew worse when he saw the grey clouds pelting down raindrops. He had forgotten his umbrella, so by the time he got to the bus station, he was drenched. He was furious, and drove the bus with such vigour, it frightened his passengers.

At one stop, he saw a little girl wearing a school uniform running to catch the bus. She had forgotten her umbrella, too, and was running and waving with all her might. Kevin, of course, slammed the bus door, gave the little girl a nasty sneer, and drove away. She looked in dismay at the bus that was leaving without her, and Kevin smiled and saw the tiny drenched figure grow smaller and smaller.

The little girl, whose name was Laura, was not one to easily lose her temper. She simply shrugged off her bad luck and waited good-naturedly for the next bus.

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Kevin drove on, and just managed to pass the yellow light before it turned red. A few cars honked at Kevin in annoyance, dampening his mood once again. As he reached the highway, he hit the pedal and began driving at full speed.

Suddenly, a car pulled out in front of him, and he instantly knew he wasn’t going to be able to slow down in time. He pressed his foot down on the brake as hard as he could, but it wasn’t enough to stop the impact. The two vehicles collided with such force that Kevin was thrown from his seat, and he hit his head. A trickle of blood ran down his forehead. Everyone on the bus was shaken, but okay.

Passengers began getting off the bus to check on the battered car, but Kevin didn’t care. That driver shouldn’t have pulled out so suddenly, he thought. A few minutes later, a police car and ambulance arrived, and the driver of the car was lifted onto a stretcher. The police concluded that Kevin was not to blame for the crash, and he was about to get back to work when he caught sight of the woman on the stretcher and almost fainted with fright. It was Daphne!

“That’s my wife!” he screamed. Then everything went black.

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A great loss

When Kevin woke up, he was in hospital.

He looked around, and the terrible truth came flooding back. A nurse took him to the room where Daphne lay, and the doctor looked at Kevin sadly.

“I’m sorry, but your wife has lost too much blood. We don’t think she will last much longer. There is nothing we can do for her.”

Daphne’s once beautiful body was broken like a rag doll. Sobbing, Kevin crouched by her side. “Daphne, please don’t leave me! You’re the only person is this world that I love!”

Daphne opened her eyes, breathed sharply, and after a lot of effort, managed to whisper, “what happened, love?”

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Kevin told her everything. If he’d only waited for the little girl, he would’ve missed the light. Then he wouldn’t have been honked at by the other cars, and then he wouldn’t have driven so fast. And then maybe...

Daphne smiled a weak smile. “It’s not your fault, dear. Just think of me when you are sad, and I will always be here with you.” Daphne’s breathing had become shallow and uneven. She kissed Kevin tenderly one last time, and her eyelids closed at last, never to open again.

Kevin was completely grief-stricken. He stayed in his house for days, suffocated by his own feelings of guilt for not having treated his wife the way she deserved to be treated. He felt numb; his heart was colder than ever.

But then he remembered Daphne’s wish for him to be happy and caring, and bit by bit, his icy heart began to thaw.

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New beginnings

One day, Kevin was driving along the same road as the day of the fateful accident. This time, it was a beautiful clear blue day. Kevin sighed wistfully, thinking of his wife. When he stopped at the bus stop, he saw the little girl again. This time, he waited, and greeted her warmly and she climbed on the bus. Laura recognised Kevin, and looked at him nervously. Kevin felt a shiver of guilt run down his spine. He cleared his throat.

“Erm … sorry that I didn’t let you get on last time. But thank you for teaching me how to love and give.” Kevin managed a weak smile. Of course, Laura didn’t understand this, but she knew this man wasn’t the same bitter man he had seen before, and gave him a warm, sunny smile. That smile was all Kevin needed to thaw his old heart once and for all, and Kevin returned the broadest smile ever. He hadn’t realised how much he had missed smiling.

The little girl and the elderly man soon became friends, and when Kevin retired, Laura would visit him and listen to stories of his wife. Laura’s family also welcomed Kevin with open arms, and soon he felt like they were his own children and grandchildren.

And whenever Kevin feels lonely at night, he looks up at the starry sky, gazes at the brightest star, and knows that Daphne is there, gazing at him proudly with her kind eyes. And Kevin always says: “Thank you, Daphne. You taught me how to love and be kind. Thank you for being there for me.”

And the stars twinkle back.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge


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Every week, we publish readers’ creative writing, poetry, photographs and artwork. For the chance to see your work published, email it to yp@scmp.com. (Remember to have "Write Here" in your email's subject line, and include your full name, age, and school; and if you have photos or artwork that goes with it, it needs to be at least 1MB.)

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
How to thaw a frozen heart

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