The car sat inches in front of my face.
Footsteps splashed through a puddle. They’d found me!
Tiny blurs splattered my cheeks surrounding me in bonded hydrogen and oxygen.
Colorless liquid reflected me as I lept upward. Arms readied, hair flailing, red converse seeking the ground.
Hard bricks ended my feet’s search and they carried me away.
Away from the yells of frustration. Away from the car they were clambering past. And away from the puddle.
Old buildings watched the scene with their usual, calm boredom. Trees stood guard. They were ignoring us and focusing on the sky; their goal in life.
The neighborhood was quiet.
Except for their hollers, the flapping of a blue and green plaid shirt, the whisk of long brown hair, and the pounding of red converse on brick streets.
And my laughter!
I let it escape as I charged away much faster than the heavy cops panting at their exertion.
I slipped into the next street. And then an alleyway swallowed me up.
Rubber squeaked as I landed, trying to stop. My body bumped up and down before my feet planted on the slimy puzzle of rectangle, clay shapes.
Hard, gritty bricks greeted my shivering hands. Cement and stone led the way to the top of the building and I followed their call.
The rubber of shoes, coated in H2O, slipped and squealed against the hardened wall.
Cold fingers gripping tightly, trained with experience, kept going on adrenaline.
Up we went.
One wet girl. Two red converse shoes. And a soft loaf of bread tucked beneath my shirt.
The voices hollered at me.
Angry that I could beat them.
They couldn’t climb. Gravity liked them too well.
I reached the top and looked down.
Laughing, I tossed my tangled curls and called down,
“I’ll pay you back as soon as someone gives me a job!”
And I would. Next time someone would let me work, the bread man and police would find money on their steps. They knew that. Yet still they chased me.
They thought I was mad to run around and climb buildings.
They didn’t understand orphan life.
But that’s ok. We can’t all understand.
I turned on my heel smiling. It was good to have food today.
I would go and look for a job.
I would see who would hire a twelve year old.
Then I’d work. Until they grew tired of my singing and occasional practical jokes.
Then I’d have to look for another job.
But that was ok. I explored Paris more and more every month.
And hard things wouldn’t get me down.
No. Rubber shoes and flapping hair sang their songs in reminder as I ran along the roof.
A soft hunk of bread on my tongue and the view of the Eiffel Tower, not quite as far away as usual, joined the song.
Life doesn’t always go how you want. She had said. But don’t let it dull you!
You’re only given one little spark of madness. You MUSTN’T loose it.
Instead you let it shine.
And when the world is dark, you, at least, will still have light!
And that is what I did.
Lights laughed. Shadows grew as the sun fell. Two red converse drummed against the wall below me.
The hard roof held me as the wind blew gently against my face. My hair danced wildly with it. My smile greeted it happily.
A light, carefree feeling warmed my body as stars sparked to light.
Soft bread, my only meal of the day, disappeared with the daylight.
Tangled hair. Ratty clothes. Home was wherever I was at the moment.
Some think I should be terribly unhappy.
But I am not . . .
because I refused to loose my spark of madness.
I was willing to see the good in my life and that, people say, is madness.
But I let them call me mad.
Because life is always brighter if you have a spark of madness in your soul.