The little plant was growing and growing, curling around its plot of dirt like a python around its prey. Stepano watched it, day in and day out, wondering what it would be.
Though his plant was doing well, Stepano was not. He had grown thinner, as the nearby restaurants had started locking their garbage cans closed to prevent him from grabbing a free meal. He had also developed an itch, twinging all over his body; when he scratched, little fleas were thrown in to the canals. He tried jumping in the water to drown them, but every time they bit again. He resigned himself to their nuisance, at least until he could find a steady source of food.
It was while he was getting ready for another long-range foraging mission, nudging his plant with his nose, that Stepano’s first problem was solved. His turned his emaciated body to start trotting through the streets when his locked eyes with a young girl. She looked to be about ten years old, and she stared at him, as wary of him as he was of her. Finally, she said, “Nice dog,” and tossed a piece of bread toward him. He sniffed it, then quickly scarfed it down.
The next day, the girl left him some more food; leftovers from her family’s dinner. The day after there was nothing, but whenever they had a bit extra, the family would leave him a bite to eat. It kept him alive, at least, which was good enough for now.
When the bud on the plant finally blossomed, it was a beautiful orange-yellow. It spread itself out to a five-pointed star, smelling of deep earth and cool autumn days. Stepano lay beside the little blossom, staring at it and inhaling deeply. It was the most beautiful thing in his life.