This is my home game entry for The Real LJ Idol. I am not competing this season but invite you to read the many fine submissions here. You can find the other home game entries here. Topic number 11 is "Run, Don't Walk."
I try to look proper in my red, velvet dress,
even though I'd rather be running down a hill.
When you're a child, adults speak in yellow caution signs: "Play Nice," "Stop!", "Don't run, walk." But when you're a child, you know there are some occasions when you simply have to run.
When you hear the jingling song of the ice-cream truck, you have to run, not walk, to beg your mom for 50 cents. Once you've retrieved her purse and dug the coins from the lint-covered bottom, you have to run, not walk, to catch the ice-cream truck before it rounds the corner. If you don't, you can't buy your rainbow Sno Cone, which never looks like a rainbow but always tastes like cherry-lime root beer.
Once you've accepted your friends' dare to sneak across the rickety porch of the strange old man at the end of the street and ring his doorbell, you have to run, not walk, to the safety of the nearby bushes. If you don't, he'll grab you by the arm and turn you into kibble for the monster he keeps in his basement. Everybody knows that.
After you've pushed through the undergrowth of the fencerow to reach the rolling fields on the other side, you have to run, not walk, down the hill to the creek where you and your brother will go fishing. Even though you might trip, even though at the bottom, if you don't slow down fast enough, you'll smack into the chest-high cornstalks, there's just no way anyone can walk on such an exultant summer day.
If you fall sideways on your bicycle, scraping your thigh on the blacktop, you have to run, not walk, the six blocks home, spraying a trail of blood drops. You don't slow down, or start limping, until you reach the front door, where Mom will greet you, pick out the gravel, dress your wounds, and give you a soft pillow to sit on.
When you're a child, you don't think about decorum; you don't exercise caution. You don't worry if anybody is watching as you race your best friend at breakneck speeds to the convenience store. I'll try to remember how that felt, in those heady, incautious days, when my little boy throws off my warnings and runs headlong into his life.
If anything, adults don't run often enough.