Ramira saw it, among the stems, hidden, shorter than the others, closer to the shelter of the house, perfect, alone, untouched, and she could not pick it.  Kneeling, she studied the singular unmarred beauty, a double bloom flower, subtle shadings of buttercream antique yellow. A Zinnia, his favorite flower, the last of its kind.  She breathed of it, touching its petals, feeling the softness and color of it.  In a few days, a week, it would droop and brown and fall to the transforming weight of the season.  She freed it from behind the other stalks to let it see the last of the cold, sharp sunlight.


Ramira did not hear but felt Pazel beside her. He knelt with a hand on her arm and together they watched the Zinnia Isabellina nod and dip with the renewing autumn wind.