The Butterfly


The butterfly looked dead.

It was 10 in the evening and I just got off the train. Long, exhausting, meaningless day in the office, long ride on a crowded train, long drive ahead of me – and now I barely had the energy to walk, let alone to look around. But then by chance I glanced at the dirty concrete floor – and there it was, a big beautiful butterfly, shiny but lifeless, its wings full of color: deep black, sparkling gold and soft navy blue. It was utterly out of place, this spark of wildness and color in the midst of this underground world, grey and exhausted.

Everybody around me was too tired to notice the tiny flame on the floor and any second, it could be crushed.

I bent over and carefully extended my arm close to the butterfly. No movement. I shifted my hand an inch closer, and all of a sudden the butterfly moved towards my fingers. Ah, it is not dead after all. My heart beating a little faster, I gently moved closer hoping to pick it up – but it didn’t give me a chance. It climbed onto my index finger and waited there. I slowly stood back up, clumsy in my attempt not to scare or disturb the tiny creature entrusted to my care so suddenly. It didn’t seem fearful of me. I made several tentative steps forward wondering if the butterfly would try to get off my hand – but it sat in the middle of my palm, calm and seemingly content. I started walking towards the escalator, very slowly at first and then picking up the pace, eyes firmly on the spark in my hand.

The warm evening breeze greeted us and we knew that the underground world was behind us. Across the parking lot, I spotted an azalea that I decided would be a perfect place for the butterfly to rest and recover. But before I reached the bush, the butterfly – no warning, no good by – flew off.

I stood in the middle of the parking lot, smiling, watching its flight. It was flying confidently and strongly, riding the light wind.

I felt hot tears coming and didn’t even feel embarrassed to cry. Maybe my spirit was like this butterfly on the concrete floor at a train station– a stranger in a 9 to 5 universe, hard and meaningless, in danger of being crushed every day. But my spirit is not dead. I covered my tired eyes with my fingers that just touched a butterfly.

My spirit is not dead – and it will take flight just as easily and gracefully, its wings full of color: deep black, sparkling gold and soft navy blue as it climbs higher on a staircase of wind, towards the net of stars.

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Maria Fafard Writes


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