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(Her painfully short blonde hair was mostly covered by a rough black hat. Her eyes were concealed behind sunglasses, and her collar was pulled way up, but you could see she had a good face. Her age was indeterminate, as was her expression.)
Me: When does the next bus come? I need to be at work by ten. Is this one of the new routes that cost a dollar?
Her: I don't know.
Me: Do you take this bus often? What's your name?
(Her mouth pulled in at the corners.)
Her: Coda.
Me: Excuse me? I didn't hear you... the wind.
Her: Coda.
Me: An unusual name.
(The bus came and we got on.)

(Next day:)
Me: What, you missed the bus too?
Her: Could be.
Me: Where do you go?
Her: Home.
Me: From where?
Her: Here.
Me: What do you do here?
Her: Wait for the bus.
Me: I mean, what do you do before you wait for the bus?
Her: Take it here.
Me: I mean after that and before you go home.
Her: Will you shut up?
(The bus came and we got on.)

(Next day:)
Me: Hi.
Me: Hello?
Me: What's the matter?

(Next day:)
Me: Hi.
Her: What do you want now?
Me: What?
Her: You're always asking questions.
Me: Me?
Her: Will you shut up?
Me: I'm sorry.
Her: Well, can I ask you questions?
Me: I wish you would.
Her: What is your favorite color?
Me: Red.
Her: What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?
Me: I don't know.
Her: Play by the rules.
Me: Once I saw a very large, unbroken field. There were a few trees near the horizon, but the fences were buried under this endless blanket of sparkling, unmarked snow. There was a stirring at one spot, and a bit of snow puffed up, and standing in the center of the field I saw a small rodent of some sort, shaking the snow off its fur. It surveyed the world of white with wonder in its eyes like that of a small child. It then walked away, out of sight, leaving a line of tracks weaving away, a lone line through the fresh snow.
Her: What is your favorite novel?
Me: War and Peace.
Her: What color underwear are you wearing?
Me: Beige.
Her: Do mosquitoes like you?
Me: Yes, and black flies.

(Next day:)
Me: Are you on your way home?
Her: Yes.
Me: How long have you been at this bus stop?
Her: Not long.
Me: And before that, you took the bus here?
Her: Yes.
Me: How old are you?
Her: Twenty-two.
Me: How do you support yourself?
Her: Invisible crutches.

(Next day:)
Her: Hi.
Her: Hello?

(Next Day:)
Me: Don't you ever do anything?
Her: What?
Me: You just come here, turn around, and go back?
Her: Is that any way to start a conversation?
Me: Play by the rules.
Her: It's none of your business.
Me: What's the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?
Her: At the intersection from Route Seven to Main Street in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, there is a giant clock made out of red, white, and yellow flowers. Near three o'clock there is a dead plant. It is yellowed and scraggly. A snapdragon. The little snapdragon pods dropped little black seeds when you squeezed them. It stood out on the gaudy clock.
Me: I have been there, and there is no clock.
Her: Maybe it was Lennox.

(Next day:)
Me: I don't think it was Lennox either.
Her: I don't think you saw a rodent in a snowfield.
Me: I don't think your name is Coda.
(The bus came. We got on. She got off before me, as usual. It looked as if she had been crying when she got off, but it was probably the wind. I haven't seen her since.
She was right. I haven't ever seen a small rodent looking forlornly over a white expanse of snow.)

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