“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.