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I Once Saw A Butterfly (Revised)

I once saw a butterfly


The air felt stiff, stifled by humidity. Ryan walked slightly behind me looking toward the road. The path we had so often toured was beginning to become over grown, an unfortunate side effect of the change in the seasons. Ryan took out his off yellow colored bic lighter, and brought it quickly to the innocent white of his cigarette. I looked away; this was a habit I had recently put on the shelf. One that still to this day haunts me, never letting go. It was then that my averted eyes happened upon a tiny butterfly.

I often wonder what it was that so captivated me that warm late June day. Maybe it was the way the insect moved, somehow different from the hundreds I had seen in my eighteen years on this planet. Perhaps I was feeling especially self-loathing as my then girl friend had decided that things “just weren’t working anymore.” I wish someone had let me know before those words had so quietly passed her lips. Though it could be that these thoughts had simply been lying in wait, until all the factors where just right for them to be released upon the world like sprites so energetically escaping that box that belonged to Pandora.

Regardless of where these thoughts came from I can be sure that it was this butterfly that started the chain reaction of electrical impulses we so eloquently call emotions. My heart raced, my veins coursed with what felt like dry ice.
I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life. When the butterfly had finally fluttered away it left me with a peculiar thought.

What makes us human… what makes us any different from a butterfly drifting in the breeze? I believe it is our ability to reason, our absolute knowledge that one-day we’ll die, and the need to irrevocably comfort ourselves while upon the doorstep of death himself. As humans we tell ourselves that there is something after death because to use death is the one truth, the one thing that has and will always be a part of our utterly pathetic existence. So with the development of higher brain function came the ultimate comfort, the promise of a heaven something that the fragile butterfly could never conceive and for that reason and that reason only could never be apart of. So as many buy into this belief of an after life, I tend to think it is only an unfortunate side effect of intelligence on the most naive level.

Now where this morbid idea came from… I couldn’t tell you. Do I honestly believe it? Once again it’s unclear. The only thing I can say for certain is when Ryan put out his American Spirit and we walked back toward our road, I left with a new view of the world around me. I once saw a butterfly.




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