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Vora de la incògnita – edge of the unknown
They were two golden threads dancing through space and time, gracefully entwined for the duration of this sacred epoch.
But the curtain was closing on this particular scene. The set was changing. The shape it would take when the curtain rose was a mere mystery to the figures on the stage; they were now standing on the brink of an ambiguous chasm.
Some stories were meant to be left unfinished for longer than others. Some stories just needed more time.
Athena’s story was far from over. The remaining pages were rife with twists and turns, valleys and mountains, adventures and destinations, love and heartbreak, discovery and purpose. She was a flower only beginning to bloom.
But the butterfly’s story was coming to a close. He had lived. He had fulfilled the purpose that had been bestowed upon him, and now it was time for whatever lay beyond the horizon—time for whatever came after you had lived all that you could.
Yet, as he perched upon the parakeet green leaf of the milkweed plant that pressed against the powder blue wall of the house, he couldn’t push past a dark curtain that hung over the future. He knew his hours were numbered, and the injustice of it bubbled up inside him.
He couldn’t shake the creeping sensation that he hadn’t done enough. That his time on this plant—in this universe, this realm—had been purposeless, lacking any palpable meaning.
The gentle vibrations and methodical beat of music invigorated his senses. Following the harmonious trail in the air, he fluttered over to Athena’s window. It was thrown wide open, allowing the honeyed scent of summer nights in and the vivacious waves of her music out.
He watched for a moment—as she unpacked the stoic suitcase, the threadbare, purple backpack, and the worn cardboard box, dancing with insouciant effervescence as she did so—before flitting into the room and planting on her shoulder.
“Oh, hello!” She stepped over to her phone and paused the music, then allowing her fingers to brush over his mosaic wings. “This is goodbye, isn’t it?”
Maybe it was because he had rested on her shoulder for the first time, or maybe it was simply that she could sense the finality in the air—the final fluttering pages—but somehow she knew.
“It’s okay. I want to thank you. After all this time, I still don’t know if you understand a word I’m saying, but I need you to know that you saved me. I’m happy now.” The words glistened in her eyes, punctuating the statement. “And I don’t know if I could’ve done that—become happy after everything that’s happened—if you hadn’t made me feel not so alone. I’m sorry you have to go now. But I know you need to. And I know you’re going to find something beautiful beyond this—this life.”
He didn’t want to go. But he saw that he needed to just as much as she saw it. And a sudden realization was beginning to drape over him.
This purpose that he had been searching for—perhaps it had been right in front of him the entire time. He had been looking for something he’d already found. She was his purpose. So now it was time to go.
Gently lifting off her shoulder, he hovered in front of her face.
Spattered freckles across her rosy cheeks. Dark lashes over warm hazel eyes, damp with unshed tears. Tangled dirty blonde curls with the front few strands pinned back.
He floated in closer until he was barely grazing the bridge of her nose. Then he flapped his wings once, orange petals emblazoned with bold black ribbons flitting against her face.
A butterfly kiss.
Then he soared out the window.
The sunset spanned the sky in front of him, deep with royal purples and blushing pinks and peachy oranges. The horizon stretched before him, once foreboding yet now enigmatic in an alluring way.
He couldn’t look back. But he could leave her with all he’d been left with a lifetime ago.
It was a million things and one thing all at once. Entirely different within her soul than within his because whatever space she had for it to reside in, it would fill. And she would ignore it, discover it, battle it, embrace it.
He left her with all that he could: purpose.