by James Mar
"If you're scared Leila you can quit.
Your choice, I dare you to do it."
"Me? Scared? Ha-ha, that's funny.
You wanna bet some money?"
"Ten bucks says I can.
Want it, little man?"
"You're on. No stops, no falls, and no brakes.
Straight to the gates and make no mistakes."
"Is that all? That means I've already won.
I'll see you at the bottom when I'm done."
Leila held her scooter and looked downhill.
Just the sight of the path gave her a thrill.
All the kids gathered for this daring event.
Leila summoned her courage and off she went!
She zoomed down the street in a wild blur.
"Jau la! Make way!" She caused such a stir.
"Aieya! Gau meng ah!" People shouted and ran.
One man spilled several boxes of durian.
Lucky for Leila, there wasn't a car in sight.
Every intersection had a green traffic light.
Racing past the Chinatown gate, all the kids cheered.
Suddenly out of nowhere, Leila's mom appeared.
Seeing her mother, Leila stumbled and fell down.
Her nervous smiling was met with an angry frown.
Her mom shouted, "Nei chi seen! Do you want to die?
You knew that was unsafe and you still did it. Why?"
"Just wait 'til your father hears what you did.
He'll have a heart attack, heaven forbid."
When Leila's father found out, he was quite upset.
"Leila, this is the most reckless thing you've done yet."
"You need to be held responsible for the things you do.
As a result, we're taking your scooter away from you."
"What? Without my scooter how can I get around?
Going on foot's so exhausting, it's a big town."
"It's only for a month; I'm sure you'll be fine.
This is what happens when you get out of line."
"Tomorrow I want you to return to each shop.
Apologize for the mess and tell them you'll stop."
The following day, Leila did just that.
It helped them see her as less of a brat.
Any of the stores who were angry before,
Were satisfied to give her a cleaning chore.
One store in fact, was especially forgiving.
"To make and mend mistakes, that's part of living."
"Nobody's perfect, you live and you learn.
With proper guidance, you'll make the right turn."
Leila felt this was some pretty good advice.
If more people thought his way, it'd be real nice.
Later she saw the kid who lost to her bet.
"Hey you creep! Stop right there! You owe me a debt!"
"Gimmie my ten bucks you despicable snake.
You saw it yesterday, I made no mistake."
"Don't hurt me, Leila! I was only talking trash.
I haven't any money; I don't have the cash!"
"No more bets or dares, I promise I won't!
I admit I was wrong! Ow ow!! No! Don't!"
Leila suddenly realized she ought to let him be.
To be gracious like the storeowner and set him free.
"Alright, I'll do you a favor and let it go.
I'll forgive you or my name isn't Leila To."
Copyright 2017 James Mar Studio. All rights reserved.