The Butterfly


Viens voir le papillon,”* he says, waving me over to the lantana bushes.
“Il est sur le mur, juste en face de toi.”**
I don’t see it.
I am looking for something white or yellow.
Then a movement, and I spot grey underwings in black festoon.
Qu’est-ce-qu’il fait?”*** he wonders out loud.
The butterfly opens and closes his wings, like lungs, but doesn’t move other than that.
“Je ne sais pas encore… Il essaie de se décider… ‘Je vais vers les fleurs rouges ou les jaunes?’ Il réfléchit…”**** I almost whisper, enchanted by its delicate swallowtail shape and grace. I don’t want it to fly away.

I can feel his body nearly touching mine. We are so close, looking at the pensive butterfly.
“Wait, I know,” I say, “Do you feel the slight breeze now?”
“He is enjoying that, feeling it, reading it, and now he is forgetting what he wanted to do!”
He smiles, then chuckles, because this is how we are.
We get distracted by the slightest excuse, and forget the path we were on.
The butterfly is quite still. Wings folded, he sits on the joint of mica-laden fieldstones that glitter in the sunlight. On the mortar, grey on grey, he is nearly invisible at this time of day.
“I think he is asleep, exhausted from trying to decide, from thinking too much… He may be dreaming now,” I go on after a while.
He is standing behind me. My shoulder grazes his chest. I pause, take in the moment.
“He dreams, huh? Like all of us,” he says quietly.
“Yes… May be that is life’s lesson. We are all dreaming it,” I say with a shrug, turning around to hug him because I need to touch him.
And as I do, I let the smell of him fill me; hold my hunger for less than a minute.
“That would be too sad,” he answers.
Oh non, je ne pense pas, parce que les rêves se renouvellent sans cesse,”***** I reply.
But I don’t want to look at him as I say that.
As my hands leave his back and rest on his shoulders for half a second.
As I barely kiss his jaw before I let go.

I don’t want to see the dream in his eyes.


*Come look at the butterfly!
** It’s on the wall, just in front of you.
*** What is it doing?
**** I don’t know yet…he’s trying to decide… “do I go to the red flowers or the yellow ones?” he is thiking about it.
***** Oh! no, I don’t think so, because dreams are renewed all the time.

About emmylgant

Cloud watcher and dreamer sometimes wise, often foolish, but I am what I am.
This entry was posted in Conversation, En Français, French, Life, Pandora's box and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to The Butterfly

  1. Encore genial.
    C’est vrai que les rêves se renouvellent sans cesse, parce que si non, on est deja mort.


  2. themodernidiot says:

    Dude! I totally read it all until I got to “renewed.” Missed that one. Yay high school French!

    Annnd, it’s my lucky day because for some stupid reason I just researched swallowtails so I know what that is!

    Score. Finally got one.

    Btw, LOVE the idea of butterfly reflecting.


  3. john zande says:

    I agree with TMD: the idea of a butterfly contemplating his day is wonderful.


  4. Willy Nilly says:

    Em, this moment in the garden with the butterfly and the one you love is so rich in romance and the transiency of love and dreams. I had to look away to clear a few memories that clouded my eyes. Silly wee Willy Nilly claimed to me that butterflies do dream as he does, and most of all, they like to play chase with children and wee dragons.


    • emmylgant says:

      I can’t say that I am surprised. I have seen butterflies out smart kids easily, but I have never seen wee dragons chase butterflies and vice versa… something to keep my eyes open for. Is there a special time of day when this is likely to happen?


      • Willy Nilly says:

        Yes Em, When the sun is out on a clear day and it’s not at high noon just yet, Willy and the butterflies are very playful together. They will fly nearly in a straight line as Willy hops behind them with a wide grin, his mouth open and his long tongue riding along outside his mouth like loose reins on a riderless horse. He always looks like he is trying to get them to light on his nose and they appear to be teasing him, staying just out of reach.


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