The streets of this city are thick with dust—dust underfoot and in the air, on your skin and in your lungs and eyes. It’s almost impossible to escape the dust.
But there are roses, too. They bloom out of the hard brown earth and burst into beautiful colors—pinks and reds and purples. They are bold and vibrant and laughing, even when the dust tries to mute them.
There is a boy, about fifteen, on his bike. His hair is dark and close cropped, his clothes old Western hand-me-downs. He is about to turn onto the street clogged with dust, and he squints his eyes in protection as he watches for cars.
He has twined a beautiful pink and white rose around the head tube of his bike, so that the bloom peaks up at him over the handlebars. Before he pulls out onto the filthy street, he looks down at his rose and he smiles at it. His smile is like the rose—bold and vibrant and laughing.
Another day, there is a man riding with the traffic. His head is covered in a scarf, but his gray beard is long and dirty. Every now and then, he glances down at the handlebar of his bicycle and smiles at his red rose. Its green leaves stretch out as if to embrace the man and the cars and the dust. They stretch out in invitation and in victory.