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A Heart Worth More Than Gold This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   When I was young, I believed that inside every person there was a golden heart, which was the center of the body. It was the reason for a person's every action. As blood pumped through the heart, it took the golden color of the heart itself The golden blood pumped through the veins, and this was the sole reason a person was so nice. Of course there was the type of person who could have an occasional bad day, which was very easily explained. The golden heart was simply taking a rest, and the gold being dispersed into the blood stream was not top quality.

Then there was the rare, very unfortunate person whose body contained a heart not of pure gold, but rather one that was gold plated. This gold plating wore away quickly, and left the heart unable to disperse kindness throughout the body. I believed that a heart of such low quality could no longer beat or serve as the center of the body. It became an unneeded, useless accessory to the body, and because it did not function it left a person susceptible to constant grouchiness.

My childhood ways to explain the moods and personalities of people around me were not very scientific. However, it wasn't science that concerned me. I had a drive to solve unsolvable problems. I created my answers from my own limited knowledge, not caring if my theories overstepped the boundaries of science. I clung to these solutions with my heart and soul, for they helped me understand a world far beyond my comprehension. The tale I have to tell is one spun from my belief in a golden heart, and how finding its nonexistence ended my childhood mentality.

My search for the unknown is the reason I was so enthralled by Mr. Harold Collins. The man himself seemed to my childlike eyes an unsolvable problem. He lived all alone in the big, gray, weathered farmhouse across from mine. He was so thoroughly grouchy that he almost defied my golden heart principle. I tried to steer him away from this extreme level of irritability, but even my conscious efforts failed. I made many visits to Mr. Collins, each time giving him a new gift. But still he remained the same obstinate old man. One visit, however, taught me ...

I had spent the morning constructing a plan that would persuade Mr. Collins' stubborn heart to send out a golden stream. Convinced it was foolproof, I crossed the road armed with a bouquet of flowers and a cake. I knocked on his door and called his name several times. Knowing he never left his house, some horrible accident claiming Mr. Collins' life played through my mind. Ashamed and scared by my own thoughts, I pushed my way through the open door and listened for any indication of his presence. I heard faint sobs from the back. I approached the noise and to my astonishment, Mr. Collins was sitting in a wooden chair, tears streaming down his face, sobs shaking his frail frame. I didn't ask any questions. It didn't matter what made him cry. Reasons would only rob the moment of its beauty, and the message it sent me. I knew then, at that moment I was cheating myself by giving a technical explanation to the very problems that gave this world its mystery.

Knowledge is a good thing in many ways, but there's a power in ignorance that almost surpasses it. It was that power that overcame me that day and brought tears to my own ignorant eyes. Had I known why Mr. Collins was crying that day, I would have been sympathetic and eager to help, and those logical reactions would have replaced my more rewarding, emotional one. Those tears washed away my false ideals and replaced them with a new understanding of the importance of balancing poetic and technical views of the world. Those tears made me realize that inside each person there is a heart that possesses the power of emotion. Gold, although precious, is far too rare to spend a lifetime waiting for, especially when, within each is something three times as precious, and far less rare: the ability to recognize and witness the beauty of human frailties.

I dropped the flowers and cake, and forgot my speech. Without a word, I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and comforted him, all the while feeling the steady beat of his heart.










This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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