His little face was dirty, all except where the tears slid down, making clean tracks. He was quiet. He didn't make a sound. Just let the big tears roll down in silence, as he sat outside on the park bench.
I wondered at his age. Was he close to ten? Or was he younger, aged by the sorrow I could see in his dirty hands, his bare toes... Where did he belong? Perhaps he didn't know himself.
I watched at a safe distance, longing to bring him comfort but unable to know how. His shouldered trembled every now and then in the sobs I knew were longing to escape his lips. Yet he remained silent.
I looked down at my own feet, guilt rising in my chest. Why wouldn't I go to him? Yet I knew I would not.
Then I heard a gasp of air and I returned my gaze to the park bench, but he was no longer seated there. My breath caught in my throat and I stood, searching in panic for where he had gone. Then I spotted him. He had only moved a few feet, and he was kneeling, his back to me.
I heard a soft sound coming from his direction. I didn't know what it was at first, but I made my way down the path, still keeping a safe distance from him and saw that he was smiling. He was gasping in little soft giggles and muted explanations of happiness. His eyes were looking down at his dirty hands, rested palm up on the paved ground. He sniffed and raised his arm to wipe away his tears with his sleeve. It left a clean smear across his dirty face. But his eyes didn't leave his hands, and his smile didn't leave his lips.
I got closer. Cautious. Unable to muster the courage to approach. He didn't move. Then suddenly, he looked up and straight at me.
I was discovered! I froze in mid-step, unsure how to respond. He was still grinning. Looking back down at his hands, he stood carefully. He held out his hand as though holding something, though his palm appeared to be empty. I wondered at his movement. Perhaps he'd gone mad. He approached me then, and all I could do was stand there. I was horrified at being discovered. I was unsure as to what I would do now.
He approached and I noticed he was much taller than me. I hadn't noticed until now, but his pants were much to short. His legs protruded from them like the legs of a stalk. And he still smiled, now at me.
"Look!" He whispered, "I've found my li'l bi' o' luck!" He held out his empty hand and then I saw it. A tiny spotted red bug. "He' ya go, li'l lady." He added, holding it out to me, and taking my much cleaner, pale hand in his own, he gently coaxed the little creature onto my skin. "Maybe i'll brigh'en you're day too, Miss." Then he walked away, strolling with added confidence. His shoulders were back, head arrect. It was as if all the sorrow from before had vanished from his dirty face.
I looked down at my pink skin and watched as the little lady opened her wings and jumped into the air to fly away. I watched as it soared in the air above me and away.
Looking after that dirty boy, I felt something had awakened within me. I hadn't the courage to go to him, to see if I could help. I was supposed to be well bread, I was supposed to be a lady. Yet, he hadn't hesitated to share his little bit of luck, as he'd called it, with me. I was determined now to never falter in bringing someone else a little bit of luck.
Every time I see a lady bug, I will remember that boy with the dirty face and tear-washed cheeks. The boy who's teeth-sparkling smile had brought me a little luck when I hadn't appeared to need it as he did.