Exempt

By Gregory J. M. Kasunich

The crack in the pavement allowed the feeble green sapling to poke through. Maybe the break was produced by the pavement itself, from the asphalt leaning and bending away from the neonate plant. The tickle of the germinating seed, the itch of the woody stalk. Maybe it was too much. 

The pounding, the traffic, it could take. It was made for that. The hot rubber and the oil and the rain, the incessant ignorance of everything above, it was used to that, not to this. This thing that was new, and alive. It could protect itself, but the cement and gravel refused to snuff out something fresh. Right? 

Little Maggie Friedman thought this as her parents dragged her though Shenly Park, her eyes on the ground, watching her steps. Watching to see if they got ahead of her. She focused on the pebbles and the black, petrified chewing gum as her father held one hand and her mother the other. 

She didn’t know that in seven years, four months, two weeks and six days her parents would be separated. She didn’t know what the reason would be, and why everything around her would always seem to be crying. The sky and the grass and even the old appliances in her home, leaking tears.  She didn’t think of these things. 

Right then, there in the shadow of the University’s cathedrals, among trees, her Keds treading softly on the genial pavement strung between the young husband and wife, she thought of this plant, and how the street must have bowed and broke to let the little thing breathe. 

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