The Christmas season…many years ago.
The air was so clear and cold, it hurt my lungs to breathe. I sat on the bus holding my books, folders, purse, and five giant, silver Hershey's Kisses-shaped packages filled with dozens of foil-wrapped homemade candies. My mom and I had spent the entire weekend making Christmas candy—fudge, peanut brittle, caramels, chocolate covered cashews, divinity, chocolate cherries, and hand dipped chocolates with multi-flavored centers. A candy lover's dream! Yum! Each package was tagged with a special red and green tag addressed to my best friends.
The bus driver pulled up at the front of the high school. An unusual number of students stood outside for such a bitterly cold day. The smokers/hard core kids were lined up against the building, their free hand shoved in their pockets for warmth.
Arms loaded down, I was the first off the bus. Four steps down and I was on the sidewalk. Two steps later, I was sprawled on the ground, flat on my back, the back of my head having cracked the ice I'd just stepped on. Everything flew into the air—my skirt, my homework, my books…and the giant candy gifts. Not only that, they exploded in the air like Christmas confetti cannons and the individually foil-wrapped candies rained down like silver shooting stars.
I laid there like a dead fish. Laughter and snickers surrounded me. Smitty, the bus driver, got out and helped me to my wobbly feet.
“Are you all right?” he asked, handing me my notebook.
All I could do is nod. (Side note: It wasn't my first fall off the bus. I can fall during rain, snow, black ice, sunshine, or new orange polyester pantsuit. Doesn't matter.)
He returned to help the other kids avoid the same fate as mine. I looked around at rosy-cheeked grinners, knee-slapping gigglers, and staggering laughers. No one else made a move to help me. I started picking up my books and realized most of my candy had flown over the chain-link fence. Climb over a fence in a dress in the snow with everyone watching? Not happening.
Suddenly Cindy, one of the girl smokers, pushed off the school wall, dropped her cigarette, and crushed it with her boot. She marched over and easily hopped the fence, picking up the snow-covered candy and handing it to me.
The bell rang and the amusement subsided as everyone dashed inside to their classes. Cindy handed me that last candy. I was never so grateful to anyone in my life.
“Thank you so much, Cindy,” I said.
“No problem, Cindy. Us Cindys have to stick together. Kids have been hitting that black ice all morning and everyone just stood around, watching the show.”
“Merry Christmas.” I handed her back three of the chocolate candies.
She beamed. “Merry Christmas to you, too!”
It’s obvious I will never forget Cindy’s kindness, but I also learned that day to never judge people by outward appearances but only by what's in their hearts.
Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at: http://www.dragonflyromance.com
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