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Essay “The Sound of the Heart”

December , 2018
The Christmas Season

When Christmas gets closer, I get overwhelmed with sadness.
I wonder from when ?
I think from quite some time ago.
Probably from the time when I read the story “The Little Match Girl”. And it must be from my childhood.
The Little Match Girl —
What a sad story it is. Poor little girl, why can’t we help her ? I was wondering.
The poorly dressed little girl, crouching on the floor, lights a match, trying to get some heat from that tiny fire under the sky in the freezing night. .

When I was a child, our family gathered together at home for Christmas. My parents, my two brothers, grandparents and our dog, also relatives got together. Even without anything special, we were full of happiness and laughed loudly together.
Mother cooked her specialties for the family. We ate together happily, three whole roasted chickens. But even then, when I looked out the window, the little match girl was on my mind.
I went on to junior high school and then to high school, and no matter how busy she was, my mother cooked the roast chicken and the Christmas spread was on our table.

I went onto college, and whenever I spoke with friends of how to spend Christmas, when I walked around town with my boyfriend, lit up with beautiful Christmas illumination, when I dressed up to go out for a gorgeous Christmas dinner, that little match girl always appeared around me. The frozen little girl,sadly lighting up the match. All of a sudden, I was full of guilt.

When I graduated from college, my beloved grandparents had passed away, and our dog also went to heaven, and my brothers left home. My father who was a scholar always was busy with his research and teaching and travelled around to give lectures. And I also got busy with concerts myself around Christmas time. My mother was all of a sudden, left alone in the house. She waited for me to get home, with the cooked roast chicken that had already turned cold, on the dining table to which we all gathered together in the past. My heart ached, looking at such state of my mother. Poor little match girl, but also poor mother looking so sad. Gradually, my mother started following me to my concerts and volunteering events. She prepared the clothes of Santa Claus by herself and danced along to my violin.

The audience was laughing with joy and my mother got happy and played the fool.
It was a few years later that I noticed that my mother was breathing so heavily and hardly in an unusual way and was wobbly doing her usual dancing steps. Her face covered under the Santa Claus hat and white beard, was so red and looked so hot, her breath so heavy.
When I finally knew that she had valvular heart disease, it had got quite serious…..

Now, I am priviledged that at Christmas time, I am able to perform in many concerts for my audience. It is true happiness for me.
But whenever I feel that there is the little match girl with her sad eyes, somewhere under the cold winter sky, I always yearn to play the violin.