The Flight of the Butterfly

August 7, 2012
By valerey BRONZE, Guaynabo, Other
valerey BRONZE, Guaynabo, Other
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

As my family went to sleep, I went to the living room to study. There I sat, staring at the pages of the textbook without actually paying attention to them. An eerie story that I read earlier in the day had enchanted me. It was about an Aztec figure that became human and drove to madness his owner. I do not know why my teacher had assigned me that particular story. She might have wanted to scare me a little or tried to bring about the Halloween theme in a sneaky fashion. Nevertheless, the story had left its mark on me. I had failed to finish my nap because I kept imagining a gruesome figure next to my bed. I had fabricated the subtle sounds of the motion of a person. I had tried to keep myself away from looking around my room. However, my imagination had conquered me. So then I resulted to win over imagination with its own technique: I would imagine moments of my past. For five minutes or so, I had dominated my ghostly fancies. However, I no longer wanted to indulge in the past. I just wanted to be present. For being so headstrong, I could no longer take a nap. When I woke up, I got my wish: I was present, so present that I only focused in the hallucination of the Aztec figure. There was no space left for the psychology terms of the textbook in my mind.

The utter silence of the living room did not help to expurgate the fancies. What a masochist had I been! I could have put on some giddy music or something. I had fallen into a period of almost insomnia. The clock marked the passing of time, as if telling me to wake up. I remember looking to my left side and observing the painting on the wall. It was a close up of a beautiful orchid. I found it kind of silly, almost sad, that such beautiful image ridiculed my petrified state. I followed the contour lines of the flower, further submerging into my state of insomnia when a strange sound hit me. Even though it sounded like the flapping of wings, I could not identify anything in the room that could make such a sound. I looked up to the ceiling to find what the subject of action was: a medium sized black butterfly. Yes, it took a simple butterfly to wake me up, not my own will power. It must have grabbed my attention because of its rarity. Not even a fly comes to my apartment because of the altitude. I only remember another black butterfly visiting my home before. Oh, it was dearly unwelcomed.

I could not digest what was happening. I was embarrassed to think that a simple gruesome story had scared me and I had to study for a test without much time. And now this: the mysterious visit of a black butterfly. The last time a black butterfly came into my home, the results were not delightful. It happened five years ago on a Sunday. My family spent the entire weekend in the beach, trying to find distraction from distress. My uncle was in the United States having his third transplant operation. But this time, the hopes were not promising. My cousins and I had spent an incredibly fun day in the sand, while my mother’s family was all silent. Like the painting of the orchid, we were the contrast. We all knew what was going to happen, but no one said anything. As we came back, my cousins stayed in my home. I went to sleep early, but my two cousins remained in the living room. When I woke up the other day, my cousin told me what had happened the night before. She told me that as they sat in the living room, an enormous black butterfly flied across the room. They tried to catch it, but the flapping of its wings was too hectic and desperate. With the help of a broom, my two cousins succeeded in leading the butterfly into the laundry room, a room without windows, and closed the door. They woke my mother up to show her the incredible creature that had flown into our house. When they searched the laundry room, there was no trace of the butterfly. How could it be gone? When she told me that, we went to our grandmother to tell her the story. Just when we told her that a black butterfly came into the house, she said: “He will die.” My cousin and I looked to each other perplexed, but we continued on. When it was afternoon, we received delightful news: our uncle was recovering because the transplant was successful. Still, my grandmother did not seem to rejoice. She continued sitting in the balcony with empty eyes, rocking her chair mindlessly. The next morning, my uncle died.

I never understood the events leading to my uncle’s death nor the destiny of the butterfly. I tried to ask my grandmother how she knew that my uncle would die by just mentioning a black butterfly. She never answered my question. Even though I do not believe in bad luck after breaking a mirror or passing under a ladder, I always wondered about the meaning of a black butterfly. Was it just a coincidence that it visited my home? Was it an alarm? The questions remained unanswered. When I went to my uncle’s funeral, I did not cry. I looked the corpse without feeling anything. I had become numbed after all the wonder. Even though I was not sure, I believed my grandmother had not cried either. But then came time and erased the presence of frustrating wonders, keeping me busy with life. However, I always remembered the event when I watched little black or brown butterflies fly in parks. I never resented black butterflies after the event though. I respected them. I looked upon them as messengers of nature.

When the new visit of that black butterfly came, I actually screamed. I did not want to wake my family up, so I tried to scare the butterfly away (ironic isn’t it?). I saw it flutter around the ceiling, and then it almost touched me. Ha! I never ran away so fast from something in my life. When I composed myself, I went back to see where the creature was. Surprise, surprise, it was gone. Believe it or not, I did have the guts to search around the living room to see if it was still there. I found no trace of its presence. I felt an overwhelming déjà vu written all over this event. Of course, I was not going to stay one more minute in that living room alone. Forget about my psychology exam, I was going to sleep in the floor next to my mother’s bed.

As I tried to sleep, futile as it was, all the wonders I had after the first visit of the black butterfly came into my mind. I felt secure next to my parents to explore such obscure matters, even though they could not assure me safety. This visit was different from the first. I did not have someone with fatal prospects. Everything was normal, and that scared me. What if the visit of the butterfly was announcing me that something would change? I was not prepared to lose my father, mother, or brother. I evaluated my relationship with my family members to that point in my life. I asked myself if I was satisfied with what I had shared with them. I was content with what I had harvested throughout the years, but I wanted more. I wanted to pay my parents a three month vacation when I was older for all the opportunities they had provided me. I wanted them to witness my graduation. I wanted to see them smile as I bought my first home. I knew all of this needed time, so I resulted to hope. I stood up and woke my parents a little; you know they were not at all far away. Even though I knew they would not remember it the next day, I told them “I love you” and went back to my new bed. I do not remember how or when I feel asleep, but I felt refreshed in the morning to my surprise. Everything was normal and I did not desire to change it with my fancies. So, I went on with my day, highlighting the importance of carpe diem. The days passed and nothing bad happened. To my surprise, the visit of the butterfly was not an omen of something catastrophic. It was an alarm that woke me up to reality. Time and work had made me forget about the essential aspects of life, but the butterfly had reminded me about them. I still do not understand the intent of black butterflies, but I appreciate their flights. I cannot help but wonder if one of them will visit me when it is my time to part.

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