She crouches in the sand next to the bus stop sign, books on ground, sage jacket folded neatly on top. Hot day. She feels the heat even more than usual due to the swift pace to get here on time. She can’t afford to miss the bus. Black pants, black tank. She really needs to start wearing lighter colors, she thinks. She swipes the back of her hand against her forehead, removing the beads of perspiration already forming.

She peers intently into a small mirror applying wine kissed lipstick, grateful she has some time left for last minute touchups. A trucker honks his horn, waving to her. She recognizes this one so she raises her hand with the tube in response. She checks the horizon, no bus yet. Attention back to compact, whisper pink shadow is swept over lids, brightening eyes. Mauve applied to creases to emphasize shadows. She likes the effect.

She catches a flash of yellow in the reflection. Standing up she turns around to see what caused the surprising show of color. She views the normal endless sea of brown, brown hill, dying brown grass, dry tumbleweeds, sand, all varying shades of dull brown, not even the rich brown of good soil. It’s the same parched harsh landscape she sees day after day after day. There is the same piece of torn dusty cardboard that has been tossed aside in the same place for the last month. She makes a mental note to bring a trash bag next time. There is no need to wait in litter every day.

Yellow flickers to the left, quick turn of head. She sees them land on the ground next to a broken dark green beer bottle and some crushed cigarettes. Two butterflies next to each other are slowly fanning themselves, wingtips briefly touching when they are open wide. Silent communication. They seem out of place against the austere semi-arid landscape. Delicate yet strong. A vivid splash of color against a lackluster background. Bright shimmering yellow with sharp black lines, well defined, a matched pair.

As quickly as they appear, they gracefully flutter off, up and around playing tag, chasing each other higher and higher on the slight breeze. They dance against the bright blue sky swirling together before disappearing over the hill. She likes the way the light clings to them. Her eyes follow them hoping they will return but knowing they are probably heading to the distant creek.

Transient liquid beauty to be greedily drunken in by thirsty eyes, she thinks.

She slips on her lavender shades, slings her jacket over her shoulder, scoops up her books, brushes the dust off her pants, and then steps onto the waiting bus that she hadn’t noticed pull up behind her.

“Morning Ma’am, beautiful day isn’t it?”

“Yes it is” She smiles, “indeed it is”.

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