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The Butterfly Garden

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When people picture the zoo, they never think of groups of teenagers blending in with the usual crowd. But there we were, armed with sunscreen and enough money to buy all of the overpriced, unhealthy food our little hearts desired. We foresaw many Dippin’ Dots in our future. Only five minutes after we’d entered the zoo and we were panting from exhaustion. I made a mental note to bring an adult-sized wagon the next time we came. Sadly, when I suggested this to my friends, they scoffed at the thought of pulling me around. When I offered to rotate turns, they looked at their significantly shorter selves and my lanky build and gigantic backpack and deemed that it would still be unfair. I sniffed at their claims and looked down at myself, wondering what they could find so disagreeable.
Right in the front of the zoo’s entrance was what I have deemed “The Building of Flying Stuff.” Due to the wonderful, life-giving air conditioning we were immediately drawn into the building. In the lobby, the walls had frames of different butterflies, a creature whose appeal I never truly understood. A nice old lady stood in front of the doors to the dreaded butterfly garden and I immediately realized my mistake.
I will concede to the fact that butterflies are rather pleasing to look at, but they are still insects and are, therefore, unacceptable. When I related this thought to my friend, she stared into my eyes, as if that would push her point across, and said “You’re pretty, but you’re still a human. Do you get my point?” And no, I do not understand her point, but I was flattered enough in that moment that I allowed them to pull me through the garden’s entrance.
We entered the room with me crouching behind the backs of my friends, creating a human shield in case one of them decided to land on me. The nice old lady smirked at me and I immediately stood up straight, willing to face the insects to preserve my dignity.
What followed was 5 minutes of pure hell as I attempted to inconspicuously dodge every butterfly that fluttered an inch too close. After one rather suspicious head flick, I flicked my head twice more so that the strangers would think that it was a tic. While I waited impatiently for my friends to finish taking their screen saver worthy pictures of butterflies, I looked at the young children whose arms were accessorized with dozens of butterflies I wanted to call out to them, to warn them not to be fooled by their beauty. Once my friends had had their daily fix of butterfly adorableness, I ushered them out of the room. And then, I faced another enemy. Oh, those dreaded birds…




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