Abolish

There were too many broken hearts in Sacksville. So many lovers had come and gone in the little city, and moved on to bigger cities, usually without their lovers in hand. Sacksville was a stepping stone to the Louisvilles and Philadelphias and Orlandos, in other words, the little time seldom mentioned when they made it to the big time. But you can bet your bottom dollar, everyone did a little time in Sacksville.

The trains rang with the echoes of sundered silences, the streetlamps were seldom bright, and always fuzzy, and it was wet. It was a very wet, humid town. And in the winter it snowed quite quietly. Couples held each other close in the summer evenings, even in the muggy gloaming, after early dinners with friends or more often coffee and lipstick pecked cigarettes. High heels touched the pavement but they bounced from the alley walls, the unsubtle clack clack that rubbed at the eardrum like the same from the railroad tracks. There were always jobs in Sacksville, but never any that paid too well. Two can live as cheaply as one.

Only a mild romantic reluctance waylaid the city council’s bill to abolish love in Sacksville. It moved through the state representatives faster than a knife through the hot air, and landed, with a wet splat, on the voters’ ballots that September. What had love ever done for anybody in Sacksville, how many careers had it ended, personal possessions savaged, men and women disowned by their one true heart’s desire? Nothing, too many, most, nearly all.

With a few exceptions, the voters struck the NO box. When the results came back, the city council demanded a recall, claiming that the NO box was very near the YES box, and Sacksville citizens were probably confused. But when all was said and done, the city decided to hold on to its broken hearts. In Sacksville, death and taxes are absolute. Love is legal. Love is unjust, true, but it is also free to be.

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