The bus is almost empty when the flower seller gets on. In the dark interior (the windows are heavily tinted), the white calla lilies in his bucket seem to blaze with light.
Although the flower seller is young and strong, he struggles to stay upright with his heavy load as the bus lumbers away from the curb and begins to pick up speed.
Planning his exit, he selects a seat near the rear door. With a steadying hand, he protects his precious cargo from tipping as the bus careens through the streets.
The flower seller seems to be uncertain where to get off. Twice when other passengers buzz to be let off the bus, he starts to follow them, but then settles back into his seat.
Finally, he sees his destination in the distance. He rises, hugs the huge bucket of lilies to his chest, and positions himself at the rear door.
He presses the buzzer to signal the driver. The bus slows, lurches to a stop, and the flower seller steps out carefully, bearing his precious, fragrant cargo.
Where does he go from here? Perhaps to a nearby intersection to offer lilies to motorists stopped at the traffic light.
Some sellers of fruit and flowers and fripperies make a decent living at intersections.
But maybe it won’t be a good day for the flower seller. Maybe so few lilies will leave his bucket that any profit he anticipates gets gobbled up by expenses.
Or maybe he’ll be lucky, and sell every blossom within an hour or two.
Little brown sparrow,
how many crumbs do you need
for breakfast today?
That’s what you get when you ride a city bus in Guadalajara.
Cheap? The fare is only six or seven pesos (33 or 38 cents), depending on which bus you board, and the routes are long.
Thrills? Perhaps the crucifix dangling near the bus driver indicates what kind of ride you’re in for.
More than once this morning, I gripped the vertical bar, bracing myself for an impending crash as the irate bus driver played chicken at intersections with smaller vehicles. Miraculously, no crash came.
Maybe that crucifix near the driver is more than just a decoration.
end of the bus route—
three jacarandas blooming
near the yellow house