I think of the children who will never know, intuitively, that a flower is a plant’s way of making love, or what silence sounds like, or that trees breathe out what we breathe in.
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John Frank’s work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The Louisville Review. His essay “Pink Suitcases,” which appeared in The Sun [November 2010], earned a notable mention in 2011’s The Best American Nonrequired Reading anthology. He lives in Ohio.
We checked out of the motel and ate breakfast in an old diner next to a gas station. Teresa ordered a child’s portion of pancakes, and they came with a whipped-cream smiley face. I ordered a skillet named after a World War II battleship.
Mom ranted and howled and screamed about how she just gave and gave and gave and we just took and took and took. Dad ran his hand through his hair and looked out the window into the backyard at our lone, birdless tree. I stared into my mashed potatoes, imagining a mountainous alien world.