The Butterfly

…the quietude of the night. Her daughter sleeping soundly beside her, the occasional baby snore punctuating the stillness of the night, the hum of the air-conditioner purring in the room. Pachelbel’s Suite No. 1: Serenade played on her iPod. She pattered out into the living room, not understanding why (or perhaps she did) she had been crying. A cigarette for a quick fix. 2.30 a.m. The whole world was silent. Even the goddesses were asleep. She stood with her cigarette lit, watching the empty street. No stars in the sky. Her tears were salty, running tracks down her face. And then it came. A small, white butterfly. Fluttering around her head, and she called out in a whisper, “Daddy…” She stretched out her arm, pale and ghostly in the night light, the tattoo on her forearm gleaming like magic. It settled on her hand, furtive, soft, one of God’s many-loved creatures. She closed her eyes, remembering the feel of his warm hand on her cheek, the smell of his Brylcreem, the sharp sting of eucalyptus oil about his person. When she opened her eyes, the butterfly stirred a little. It held his soul, perhaps. “I love you,” she told the butterfly. And she set it free, soaring above her head, flying off into the night sky. And with it, the butterfly took her heart.