Tara noticed the flower every morning on her walk to the bus stop. Sprouting through the cracks in the concrete sidewalk, it bloomed, arching toward the sky. She imagined herself far away from this hopeless neighborhood, somewhere beautiful.
“Hey!” Nia, a notorious bully, called to her. Tara ignored her, as usual, as her mother had taught her to do. Nia shoved her, causing her to stumble. Everyone laughed. It wasn’t their laughter that incensed Tara. It was the sight of those yellow petals, crushed under Nia’s sneakered foot. Tara closed her eyes, clenched her fist, and swung into the darkness.