By Rosemary, age 15, India
There is no beauty without some strangeness.
She was beautiful. And weird. Which made her crazy. But it wasn’t the craziness which was…the way it was described in dictionaries. Look it up. You’ll find it means nutty or something. But this craziness and madness was where you were yourself: Wholly, completely, and fully.
So when Lily was born, she proved to be beautiful. And cute. Well, all babies are. Times changed, and she still was Lily, but crazy.
Six years old
She snatched her friend’s ice cream and ran off, shrieking and laughing. Tara ran after her, yelling to give it back.
“Too slow, Tara!”
“Give it back, Lily!”
“No way!” said Lily, sticking her tongue out and making weird faces.
Tara laughed as they paused, running out of breath. Lily turned and held out the ice cream. “Want some?”
Tara was about to lick it, but she licked air instead. Lily laughed harder.
Twelve years old
Lily slowly crouched behind her cousin. He was watching TV. So engrossed in the plot and twists…
As she uncapped the bottle, she was careful to not breathe. This had to take place. Swiftly, she upturned it, and it splashed its contents on him. She was drenched in various colours.
“Lily!” he yelled.
Lily laughed. “You…you…look like a clown!”
“What the heck were the paints for?” He looked angry.
“Because I wanted to,” she replied, rolling on the floor with laughter.
“You are crazy.”
Nineteen years old
She was carrying a basket of bananas. No, not apples. They’ve had too much attention. Bananas need some attention, too.
Lily happily swung the basket, humming a tune. And then she burst the chorus while those who passed by either frowned or cursed. Someone so happy was technically not allowed to be here while they suffered.
“Keep your voice down, Lily!” her aunt scolded.
“But I feel happy,” she said, bouncing slightly.
“Whatever. Why can’t you be more…more mature?” her aunt scowled.
“Because it doesn’t exist in my dictionary.”
“Stop being cheeky.”
“I am not. I merely stated the facts,” she replied in an adult voice. “How’s that?”
“Shut up. And stop swinging that basket for heaven’s sake.”
“Not for our sake? I mean, we’re the ones who’ll be eating them. Hopefully, heaven won’t take it.”
Her aunt scowled. This…this…there weren’t enough words to describe her…illness.
A banana apparently decided to fall from the basket. Her aunt currently walked in front of Lily because she was angry. Lily gasped. Loudly.
“A banana suicided.”
“What?” her aunt asked, looking down. “Oh. I told you to be more careful. This means less money…”
“But it died,” Lily sniffed. “Don’t worry, banana. We loved you. Not Aunt, maybe. But I…my love was so vast…it still is. Tell me you’re there. No! Don’t go!”
She prodded it. “You’re alive!” Hugging the banana, she kissed it. “My gosh, Aunt, look! It’s alive!”
Her aunt looked up and saw a few people gathering around her.
“Miss, I think your daughter needs to go to a psychiatrist.”
“She’s my sort-of niece. My daughter’s far better,” she spat.
The people whispered about how the girl’s mother never taught her anything. Lily looked up. She furrowed her brows. “Don’t remember inviting you to watch the drama.”
“Shut up, Lily. We need to advise your mother. Can’t believe I never saw she was blind.”
Lily got up defiantly, holding the banana. “Don’t you dare speak about my mother that way, Mrs.
Rock, or else…”
Twenty-five years old
She turned and smiled. She was married now. For a year. She had made a hard decision to not be crazy because mostly it made them angry. Only a handful didn’t mind and loved her for that reason, precisely.
“Nothing,” she said, remembering she held a melting piece of chocolate in her hand, behind her back. “I wanted to give you a gift. Close your eyes, please.”
He closed his eyes. Bringing her hands forward, she reached for the camera with one hand and pushed the RECORD button. And with the other she smeared him with chocolate.
“What the…?” he spluttered.
Lily laughed. Holding the camera, which was shaking uncontrollably in her hands, she threw back her head and laughed. “The chocolate boy.”
The camera fell and crashed, and she looked down startled.
He looked at her defiantly and with rage. “That was my anniversary gift!”
And then he stormed out. And she was left looking out with tears. Perhaps she would give it away. After all, the Craze Thief had been pushing her to give it up for quite some time.
But then, when she saw it, her eyes widened. There was a board, hung in the corner, away from most eyes. She couldn’t believe she had never noticed it, not when it hung so close. This was what it said:
The Craze Council
Lost your craziness? Come meet us. Park Avenue.
Open from Monday to Friday
That was all it took for her to rush out and towards the site. But when she arrived, she saw that it was a park. Flipping out her phone, she rang them. And she got directions.
Making her way through the haphazard vines and bushes, she finally emerged into the light. You might think that she saw some elderly, beautiful, and old people who were wise there to help her. People who looked like they came from the heavens to help confused folk, like her. But all she saw was a bunch of naughty, playful, smirking kids.
“The members of the Craze Council invite thy majesty, wholeheartedly, hoping that she doesn’t assume it to be a prank or joke,” one of them drawled.
“I came here to…”
There were seven of them: four boys and three girls. And before she could take in everyone’s appearance, she was pushed, and she fell to the ground, mud splattering her face. They broke into fits of laughter.
She got up, wiping the mud. She cursed and was about to go away when another and another ball of mud hit her. Still, she walked away. But then one of them called out, “Hey, don’t want your craziness back?”
“So, that’s how you want to play, huh?” Lily straightened and then threw a ball of mud towards them. And then they had a mud fight.
“I see you’re crazy. So what’s the prob?” asked a girl with untidy hair but with a smiling, gleaming face.
“It’s just that no one appreciates it. I don’t know if I should lose it.” Lily bit her lip.
“Lose it?” asked a girl with gray eyes. “You are so not doing that. If that’s what you want…”
“Zoe, calm down,” said a boy. He seemed to talk less, listen more. Maybe he wasn’t as crazy…but appearances can deceive. “Look, you came here for help. And we give it. Nobody leaves without becoming crazy. You already are.”
“I see the problem,” said another girl. “So don’t worry. I’ll say, continue to be that way, but…”
“No buts, Macy. If she’s gonna be crazy, she’s gonna be it fully.”
Lilly suddenly felt a shiver run down her body. She reached back and touched something and yelped. “Get it off! Get it off!”
“No way! Promise to be crazy?”
Lily turned and found the boy who talked less with an evil grin. The rest were laughing hysterically.
“Yeah, just get it…off!”
Lily crouched down. The boy removed a caterpillar that was lolling on her neck.
“Do you want to know who the Craze Thief is?”
Lily nodded. Weird name.
And so they narrated.
It’s a miracle and a wonder how when we’re young, we are innocent and crazy, and that makes others happy. But as we near adulthood, we lose the touch of craziness. We lose innocence. Some lost their hearts and soul. Probably sold them to the Satan. But our craziness and the ability to act childish? Where did that go? I suppose we just let it go. But surely someone forces us. The Craze Thief, of course. Do you not know who the Craze Thief is? She is the one who has the silver box (I suppose you want golden, but I don’t fancy it much; pick your style) labeled Craze box. And in it is everyone’s craziness. Kind of funny how she doesn’t use it for herself and neither gives it to us. Too selfish.
Think again. You’ve seen them. A lot. Someone who stole your ticket to happiness. Circumstances, you say? Nope. Well, then, it would seem too much of a coincidence that nearly every adult is not crazy and is mature. Surely, not the same circumstances for everyone? I wondered why people wanted me to be more responsible and not crazy. What was wrong in being some? After all, Luna Lovegood was, too. Now, you don’t have to imitate her. But she was herself. Don’t you feel it? That you’ve lost yourself when you act without emotions and control yourself so much. But for whom? Nobody. Why? Because they have compelled you to.
When did you lose you craziness, miss?
I am not sure. Guess when I was 20. Like, the more adult I became, I lost it.
Why did you lose it, miss?
Because they all wanted me to be mature and responsible. And you couldn’t be responsible while being crazy.
Where did you lose it?
I suppose a lot of places. It’s scattered, bits here and there.
So, who is the Craze Thief?
You. And you. And you. And all others who wanted you to be mature. Basically, the society we live in.
But, I am a part of it. So…
So, miss and misters, ladies and gentlemen, you are the cause of the loss of someone’s craziness, perhaps. And in the circle, someone is a cause of yours, too.
As Lily walked out, she was lost in thought. She never thought she’d find anyone that matched her craziness. Or maybe make someone else crazy. I don’t want to lose it. Ever. The Craze Thief might force and punch me. But I love myself. And you might love yours, too. The thing that shone with radiance due to its purity. Surely, we can preserve it. Maybe not with salt and sugar. But just by using it. Looks like nature’s laws don’t apply here. The more you use something, it’s supposed to perish. Not with craziness.
It’s a joy that takes you to infinity. Where you forget everything, just to pull your lips upwards and ring a melodious, ridiculous tune from the depths of your heart—laughter. And currently, the Craze Council had a wicked glint in their eyes. The seven of them exchanged glances and smirked.