Carolyn Jamison pulls onto campus and finds a parking space in the bottom lot. She scans the front plates of the cars across from her, decorative, of course; Pennsylvania requires only back plates: Steelers. JESUS in the Keystone State. i > u.
She steps from her car, approaches this last plate, tries to juggle the various meanings in her head.
She assigns a number to the letter i (9) and another to the u (21). 9 > 21. No. The expression makes no sense mathematically.
I is greater than you. She frowns: Grammatical mistakes drive her mad. She slides the is over in her mind, like a Chicklets-gum square from one of those plastic picture puzzles, inserting the word am in its place. I am greater than you.
The expression is heavy and mean and ugly. She glares at it. As she watches, it falls at her feet, splinters apart and loses its meaning. Three harmless symbols splattered upon asphalt.
She steps on the >, crushing it beneath the heel of her boot, nodding, satisfied, as she hears it snap. She rearranges it into an uneven equal sign. She replaces the expression on the metal plate. I is equal to you.
She shrugs. Still incorrect grammatically, but at least the equation is balanced.
She smiles, hoists her messenger bag up on her shoulder and heads up the hill towards her algebra class.
This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was juggle.