A Piece of Bread

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Jimmy wants to him to hear about his day. “Today, a girl came up and wiped my tears away, good sir,” he said enthusiastically, “she gave me a big piece of bread, and a good freshly baked bread that is. She also kissed me tenderly.” He touched his face and blushed, “This place isn’t so bad. She was my angel of salvation.”

Submitted: August 16, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 16, 2013



The sky was dark and awfully murky. No traces of light shot out from the heavens above to relieve the gloominess. The air was cold, damp, and smelled of sea. The people were dressed in dark clothes, a brooding look on their faces, and holding umbrellas.

Jimmy watched them as they passed by his little hiding place between two tall buildings. He looked at their pretty, dark dresses with great interests. Men had long, dark cloaks, hands shoved in their pockets, and shoulders hunched because of cold. Women dressed in heavy gowns, enormous hats, and walked with such gracefulness. Though, he showed delight at their sight, on the other hand, they paid him no attention at all.

Jimmy couldn’t blame them. He was a mere shadow. And shadows are part of darkness and had little importance. There was nothing interesting in him at all. Then again, he doesn’t mind for being a shadow and strangely enough, he likes being one. He was free to see things as he wished to see. Hear things that some men ignored to hear.

The simple sounds of heavy footsteps, the weird honking sounds, the gallops of horses, and the chirping of the birds. And even the laughs and cries of men pleased him. All of it had some kind of rhythmic rhythm that sends joy to Jimmy’s little heart.

Jimmy smiled as he listened carefully at the voices of the passers-by.

“Darling, we should go see your mother.”

“Mama! I want to play more with my cousins!”

“Bah! He was lying when he told you-“

“A lovely party indeed!”

Jimmy frowned at the word party. He looked down at his tattered clothes. His shirt was covered with dirt and mud, torn and wrinkled. His pants shared the same state as his shirt, only that there were number of little holes everywhere.

“No wonder, I’m not invited at this so-called party.” He muttered with longing, “but I think I’ve grown a little bit.”

He eyed his frozen toes with amusement. A strange thought occurred to him; if he accidentally broke one of his toes, he was absolutely sure he wouldn’t feel a thing.

Jimmy grinned. “At least that would be a comfort for me. No pain at all.” He sighed wearily and stared at the crowded streets again. “I hope they don’t have frozen toes too. People like them are not too accustomed to pain, if they are hurt they would surely cry and cry; they shall never get over it for a long while. It’s best that people like me should suffer, for different kinds of pain felt nothing like but a prick of a needle and nothing more. Those who are accustomed to pain do not fear it.”

Jimmy shivered uncontrollably. A strong wind blew past him sending chills down his spine. He hugged himself and rubbed his arms feverishly. “I hope my poor masters and mistresses are warming themselves up in front of their hearth,” he said, his breathing ragged.

A sudden sobbed distracted Jimmy with his frantic thoughts. He turned and saw a couple standing outside his little hole. The gentleman was whispering something to the crying lady.

“Hush now, darling,” said the gentleman softly.

“Oh dear. Such a lovely creature she was!” the lady cried, “I wonder how her mother let her stay out in this cold weather. The poor match girl.”

“I know, darling, I know,” the gentleman replied, gravely. “Someone will help her.” He whispered something again on the lady and urged her to walk again.

“Help.” Jimmy muttered, when the couple disappeared. “Your thoughts for her are comforting. But the match girl is so the same as me. A mere shadow. We are all entangled by the same fate and subject to your kind thoughts.”

Words are only mere words, Jimmy. A voice whispered in Jimmy’s head. Deeds speak louder than thoughts.

Jimmy frowned at the voice in his head. “I wish you would be silent for once, voice.”

Before he could even say more, a loud grumbling sound interrupted him. Jimmy sighed wearily and glared at his stomach. “You just had your fill last night!” As if hearing his protest, his stomach grumbled once more.

“Alright, alright!” he hissed, “I understand!”

Jimmy stood up and swayed, the walls around him seemed to be moving. He staggered and steadied himself, leaning on the wall. “Really now, Jimmy.” He told himself, “How could you get your food if you can’t even walk straight?”

Jimmy walked out of his little hole and sat down on the corner of the street. Some people glanced back at him with pity while the others with disgust. He didn’t mind the negative expressions, he actually felt happy about it. At least, he was being noticed.

His stomach grumbled once more. “Patience now,” he whispered, “you know patience, right? Patience is a virtue.”

As Jimmy watch the carriages pulled by the horses. His thoughts wandered back at the time he was sitting outside a chapel, listening to a priest’s sermon.

“’Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and door will be opened to you,’” he said softly. Impulsively, he gazed at the dull-colored sky and said, “May I ask for a piece of bread, good Sir? I wish to fill this empty stomach.”

Jimmy doesn’t know why saying those words put a lump in his throat. He was even more surprised when something tickled down on his cheeks. He blinked and touched his face.

“Wet,” he murmured. He wiped his tears away but, they incessantly flowed down. “No crying, no crying, Jimmy!” he sobbed, “You are a big man, aren’t you?”

Jimmy was so busy wiping his tears that he hadn’t noticed someone was peering down at him until he heard a hitching sound. He looked up and gave a startle cry. A small girl was crouching in front of him. Her heart-shaped face was full of sadness, her thick, curly, dark hair was braided in a tight knot, and there were tears were falling down from her soft, brown eyes.

“Why are you crying?” she asked, her voice cracked, “you’re making me cry too.” She looked genuinely sad.

Jimmy looked around but, no one paid them attention. He stared back at the girl, who was sitting so close to him that their nose almost touching. He tried to back away but, he was already pinned on the wall.

“I-I-I don’t know,” he stammered.

Mercifully, the girl leaned back. “You’re sad,” she said, nodding to herself.

Jimmy simply stared at her. His voice seemed lost. Actually, he felt lost. Daze. Stupefied. No one has ever talked to him before or stared at him so close. He was supposed to be invisible, a shadow forever. But this girl was talking to him!

And before he could say something sensible, the girl touched his face so tenderly with her warm hand. Jimmy felt his whole body went rigid. He felt some strange energy coursed in his entire system, prickling him with tiny needles. The energy was terribly painful and it was making his poor heart throbbed. It was a feeling that made him… helpless.

“Don’t be sad,” the girl said quietly, caressing Jimmy’s face. She looked down on her basket and pulled out a big lump of bread. She smiled sweetly at Jimmy, pulled his hand, and placed the bread on his palm. “You must be hungry. That bread is freshly baked by my uncle!” She added proudly.

Jimmy swallowed loudly. His mouth turned extremely dry. The bread was still hot under his fingers. “T-t-thank you, my lady.” He stammered, blinking rapidly as tears were threatening to roll out again.

Before the girl could say anything, a hand yanked her back. Jimmy looked up and instantly wished he was back in his hole again. Glaring down at him with such furious expression must be the girl’s mother.

“Don’t get too near with that dirty creature, Maria!” She growled, shooting Jimmy with unveiled disgust.

“Mama!” the girl exclaimed, glaring back at her mother, “he is a boy!” pointing at Jimmy and then, she bent down and kissed him on the cheek. Without another word, she began to run away from her mother.

“Maria!” her mother exclaimed, horrified. With a final furious glare at Jimmy, she ran after Maria.

Jimmy knew that in that certain moment, he could die and rest in perfect peace. He touched the place where Maria kissed her, and felt the blood rushed to his face.

“Did I just get kissed?” he asked, dumbfounded.

Jimmy crawled back to his hole with his mind still blank. He ate his bread mechanically and without really tasting it. No one has ever shown him such tender affection. No one kissed him before. No one gave him fresh bread before. He stared at his pale, bruised hands. It looked strange to him; his skin seemed to be glowing as if that simple kiss channelled the warmth of the sun to his cold body. He should be glad about the girl’s kindness and gentleness but, her affection only made him sadder. His thoughts went back to his fellow shadows. He shouldn’t be happy when there are more people are suffering.

Jimmy sat in heavy silence. At sunset, he crawled out of his hole again and walked down to the almost deserted street. He walked faster and faster not knowing where he was headed until he was out of breath. The sound of the waves hitting the stones jerked him out of his thoughts, his gaze dropped to the dark water.

“Everything in this world is dark,” a quiet voice said.

He looked around and spotted a young man sitting on the stones, and he instantly reminded himself to breathe. The man has the most beautiful face Jimmy had ever seen. His skin was fair and seemed to be glowing, and his tangled black hair was black as ink, his dark eyes fringed with long, thick lashes. His thin lips curved in a kind smile, and a slight flush was visible in his elegant cheekbones. He was lean and slender. And as he raised his hand to rake his hair, his fingers were slim and long, a pianist hands.

“Good evening, Jimmy,” he smiled. His voice light and melodious. “Come, sit down.” He patted the stones beside him.

Jimmy walked towards the man and sat by his side. “Good evening,” he muttered, glancing at the beautiful man.

Is he being blessed today that so many people talked to him? He thought with awe.

“There is a simple end to your suffering, Jimmy,” the man said, smiling kindly. “You just need to say it, and it shall be given to you.”

Jimmy didn’t answer. His awe turned to morose thoughts.

“You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?” the man continued.

This time, it was Jimmy’s turn to smile. “Yes, how could I not?” he sighed, “but I shall never take that course.”

“Because of that blessing you received.” The man surmised.


The man’s beautiful face turned sad. It was such a heart-broken expression. “Are you blind on how the people treated you, child?”

Jimmy laughed, heartily. “Good sir, of course, no!” he smiled at the horizon, “I am not blind. Even how much I tried to, I cannot close my eyes to the truth. I see it all. I feel it all. I was treated as a mere shadow, a part of the entire darkness that covered this place. I had been thrown away, kicked, shouted with harsh words, laughed at, and many more.” He stared at the gleaming river thoughtfully, “but I cannot hate them nor blame them for what I had become. I cannot throw stones at them as they had done to me. I can only pray for them that they shall be blessed and be forgiven. If you let hatred grow in your heart then, you’ll only live in hatred. There will be no peace in your life. You’ll only live in darkness. But if you let love blossomed like a flower in your heart, you’ll live a much better life. Full of possibilities. Full of happiness.”

“That sound impossible, Jimmy,” the man muttered.

Jimmy smiled warmly at the man and said, “Who said it would be easy, sir?” he gazed at the river again, “but not impossible, I believe. There was a man before who said, ‘There’s no such thing as impossible because the word itself says, ‘I’m possible.”’ He shrugged his shoulders, “Forgiveness is divine. I can only love them.”

The man stared at him in amazement, he was about to say something but Jimmy held up a finger.

Jimmy wants to him to hear about his day. “Today, a girl came up and wiped my tears away, good sir,” he said enthusiastically, “she gave me a big piece of bread, and a good freshly baked bread that is. She also kissed me tenderly.” He touched his face and blushed, “This place isn’t so bad. She was my angel of salvation.”

The man turned thoughtful. “There was once a story of a girl with a golden box,” he started, his dark eyes bored to Jimmy’s green ones. “She released all the horrible things in this world, Jimmy. And you know what remained in that box?”

“Hope.” Jimmy replied, looking away.

“Yes,” the man said, a smile in his melodious voice. “You, torch bearer, are giving them hope. Though they continue to act like they are above you for now but, truth to be told, you are much better than them. A shadow you are, you say.” He laughed quietly, “Truth is, Jimmy. We are all shadows in this world. And when the time comes, every one of us shall turn to dust. The earth shall claim what’s hers. And all of us shall be equal at last.”

Jimmy didn’t look at the man as he talked but, he felt his lips turned to a smile. He felt a warm hand ruffled his hair. They remained quiet for such a long time.

A sudden strong wind passed that Jimmy thought he was going to be blown away. Strangely though, he didn’t feel cold at all. He turned to ask the man if he was cold but, he was gone. He was sitting all alone in the riverbank.

Jimmy took a deep breath and smiled at the twinkling stars. “Death always appears beautiful in the eyes of men.”


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