Timeless Spirit Logo ARTICLE

A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. July's Theme: "Love"
Volume 2 Issue 5 ISSN# 1708-3265
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by Jennifer Monaghan

Butterflies. It started with them. It ended with them. When I first met her she was wearing them in her hair, around her neck, on her ears. Little silver ones, holding ebon curls away from her face, dangling from her lobes and tickling her cheek, resting in the hollow at the base of her throat. I wanted to rest in that hollow; I wanted her to swallow me whole. She was beautiful, enchanting. I don't believe in love at first sight, but I do believe some part of me did, that day. I was meant to love her, I was meant to wrap my life around her. And I was meant to lose her.

That part I didn't know. That part was a surprise, a devastating thunderbolt striking unexpectedly at the very core of my being. But I get ahead of myself. Back to that first night, that first meeting.

I saw her from a distance. I crossed the room, mesmerized by her. I held my shoulders back and tried to charm, tried to appear confident, but when she fixed the deep and dark pools of her eyes on mine I was lost, like a little boy searching for his mother in a crowded room. She rescued that little boy, held him close while he cried for his lost mother, and quieted his tears. Ultimately, she was the one who charmed. She saw through the masculine facade and touched the woman within. From that moment on I was hers.

She took me home at the end of the evening, shed her shimmering dress of midnight blue and showed me her wings. With skin like coffee laced with cream and wings that swirled with violet and indigo and jade, she hovered above me, touching me softly, tickling. She unfurled her proboscis and inserted it, long and delicate, into the stem of me and sucked the nectar from my centre, left me wanting. She curled up on me as though I were a flower and slept and dreamed. I spent seven years sleeping that way. Seven perfect years.

On the third year we married in a house of butterflies. Three years exactly from the day we met. Surrounded by greenery and blooming flowers and countless winged species we vowed to one another for eternity. Ivory lace clung to her body, hung from her waist, left her shoulders bare. She wore impostor butterflies in her hair. Loose tendrils caressed her temples, her neck. I brushed one back and kissed her where it had been. I slipped a ring on her finger and then kissed her fingertips. I whispered my love and kissed the corner of her mouth. I whispered it again and kissed her full on the lips. She was my heaven.

On the fifth year we bought a house. On the sixth we imagined a family. Six years exactly from the day we met, we brought the seed of a man into our bedroom. A month later, undaunted by failure, we brought the seed of a man into an obstetrician's clinic. A month later, another try, third time's a charm. My daughter, our daughter, grew in the belly of my lover and my wife, transforming into a small human like a caterpillar in its cocoon.

Unbeknownst to myself, to the doctors, to the mother of my child, something else grew in her body, silent and lethal.

Once discovered, we were faced with a choice. It could be treated, the doctors had told us, perhaps banished, but that would mean also banishing the magical life we had created. Second and third and fifth and sixth opinions were sought and every time the answer was the same. The treatment would be much too aggressive for a pregnancy to survive. She refused termination and thus in her own way I guess she committed suicide.

I denied the truth, hoped for time, wished for a miracle that would allow me to keep both my daughter and my wife. I argued with her, insisted that her own life was more important than that of our child. I almost made her hate me when I told her there would be other chances, other pregnancies, and other babies. I tried to keep her, held her fierce, but she had wings and wanted to fly. In the end I had no choice but to surrender to her will. I bowed my head, shoulders slumped, and with a heavy heart I acquiesced.

Seven years exactly from the day we met, one life came into the world while another exited. The little caterpillar that was my daughter emerged from her warm cocoon and unfurled her infant wings. Before her mother died, she wrapped her own wings around the tiny creation, kissed the soft down on its head, fed one single meal and gave it a name. "Call her after my true name and teach her to fly," she whispered to me as our daughter sucked hungrily on the swollen nipple.

I kissed my wife, kissed my child and watched helplessly as Death entered the room. I fancied that I could see her spirit flying away on delicate wings of indigo and violet and jade. I said goodbye to my Spanish butterfly and said hello to the little hybrid we had created. I unfastened the silver chain from my wife's neck and wrapped it loosely it around my daughter's. On the chain hung the silver butterfly that she had worn the day we met. My tears fell on both of their faces. Wonder and amazement mixed together with grief, creating an unusual and bittersweet emotion that calmed my ravaged heart. I gathered the infant in my arms, cooing to hush her cries, and I wrapped her in the quilt that her mother had lovingly stitched together during the last months of her life. It was covered in patchwork butterflies and in the corner a silvery thread spelled out my daughter's name: Mariposa. Butterfly.

With butterflies it began, with butterflies it ended and with butterflies it began again. This is a story not of death, but of the cycles and circles and magic of life and the love that resides within us all.

Jennifer is a writer and poet who has had a passion for the written word since childhood. Jennifer's poetry has been featured in The Prologue, an annual publication of the University of WI, River Falls, Body Mind Spirit Magazine and here at TSM. In addition to writing, Jennifer is currently pursuing pre-veterinary studies.

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