Butterflies fluttered all around me as I stepped into the room. They’d slowly been gathering, multiplying, over the years and now they started to fade. The bright colors dulled and as quickly as they gathered there, they began to disappear. A beautiful, pure, innocent magic brought them into my life and now a sad reality was taking them away. I sat down among them all, watching as some landed on my shirt while others around me.
The butterfly that started it all was soft yellow. I can remember it floating across the living room and landing on my nose. The muffled giggles of the small blonde girl rang in my ears before I saw her head dart back down the hall. From that night on, a butterfly found its way to me every night and landed on my nose.
After three weeks of butterflies had gathered on the walls, I made this room. My little girl loved flowers and I filled it to the brim with the brightest and most colorful flowers I could get my hands on.
Her face lit up brighter than the stars when she saw them. That night a very large purple butterfly landed on my hand. I smiled and walked down the hall. Silently watching the little feet lift off the floor and scramble into bed before hiding under the covers.
“Did you like my butterfly daddy!?” the excitement in her voice rang in my ears. She always brought a smile to my face. “Purple is mommy’s favorite color isn’t it daddy?”
“Yes it is dear.” Pulling the sheets up to her chin I sat down on the edge of the bed.
“Daddy?” She had her mother eyes and had her same bright spirit behind them. “Do you think mommy will like the butterflies?” Her face beamed as she squirmed her way out of the covers and on to my lap.
“She’ll love them because she loves you.” I kissed her forehead and put her back in the now frumpled covers.
“Mommy loves you too daddy.” Even as she yawned the words their sincerity brought tears to my eyes.
Her mother was in France at the Beauxbatons Academy teaching for ten months out of the year. We saw her for two months during the summer holiday and a couple weeks for winter holiday. It was such a short time to be with someone who played such a large roll in our lives and brought tears to my eyes.
“Daddy, don’t cry.” She had managed to get out of the covers and on my lap again. Her little hand touched my face as she made me look her in the eye, like she had seen done on the television so many time. “She’ll come back. She always comes back.” I couldn’t help but chuckle at her actions. “And when I get big I’ll go to school with mommy and you can come visit us whenever you want.”
I put her back in bed and pulled the sheets back up to her chin one last time. “I know dear.” I kissed her head again. “She’ll love the butterflies. Goodnight.” The little head lay softly on the pillow and she was asleep before I reached the end of the hall.
We started a count down until the day that her mother would come home for winter holiday. Seventy-eight was the magic number today October 6. December 22nd would be her last day there and then January 4th would be her first day back to school. A short-lived holiday and time with her, but time with her was more precious than anything else we could get for Christmas.
Twenty-four days until her mother came home and I was out watering the flowers when a lovely tiny red butterfly landed on my cheek. My little DeAnna was at her grandmother’s house and must have been now getting into bed. I smiled and shook my head softly. It land on a large white rose, resting yet moving its wings as though it was preparing to take off again.
That night I walked around the small pavilion. There were exactly one hundred fluttering, floating butterflies among the flowers and I knew that it was my little girl that had brought them all there. It was my little girl who had figured out how to channel her magic at such a young age into something incredibly. I was amazed to say the least.
I couldn’t get DeAnna to sit still to save my life. Her mother was due to arrive anytime at the bus station. All around people were bundled up and huddled together talking in hushed whispers attempting to stay warm. Then there was DeAnna and I. I stood there trying to catch the five year old that seemed to be weaving around my legs and feet almost tripping me. This was one of those times when you realize that there isn’t much different between a child and an energetic puppy.
I gave up and just told her to make sure that she stayed by me. I understand why in America they have what are referred to as ‘Leash Children.’ Soon the terminal was filled with giggling girls filled with excitement about the holidays; talking too fast for me to understand anything. I returned to trying to get DeAnna to hold still so that I wouldn’t lose her in the crowd.
“Happy Holidays, Madam Gamét!” My head snapped up at the name.
“You too Loreen. Do wish your parents my best dear.” I couldn’t find her among the throng of people. I momentarily caught a glimpse of DeAnna before she darted out of my sight and into the crowd once again.
“Mommy! Daddy’s over here, he wants me to stay still but he just doesn’t understand that I can’t. I’m just too happy that you’re home mommy! I have a surprise for you when we get home. Daddy helped me with the flowers but I did everything else. Well not everything else, but...we need to go home so that I can show you mommy!” I watched as my girls appeared from the crowd. DeAnna was pulling a larger version of herself by the hand. It was the most wonderful sight I’d ever seen. The lady just smiled weakly at her child. Something was wrong but I didn't ask and just gave her a hug and a kiss and we left.
We got back to the house shortly afterwards and DeAnna couldn’t get her mother, Arabella, to move fast enough through the backyard. I walked with them watching DeAnna’s excitement grow as we got closer and Arabella’s energy drain. She held onto my arm and started to support herself more and more as we got closer to the small building.
Arabella crossed through the threshold and a butterfly promptly landed on her nose. She stood there not knowing what to do as she watched cross-eyed as it’s wings slowly moved back and forth. Then she started to laugh. Her eyes sparkled and her laughter mixed with our daughters giggles, made the sweetest sound I had ever heard.
We stayed in the pavilion and had some tea watching the butterflies dance around the flowers and one another. DeAnna had a story for each butterfly and each butterfly had a name.
That night two butterflies flitted into the sitting room where we were exchanging thoughts quietly about the plans for the holidays. They were both pure white and landed on each of our cheeks. My wife’s eyes questioned me. I simply smiled and told her, “It’s bed time.”
Christmas passed rather quietly. We stayed home and did not host any parties or attend any. Arabella grew weaker each day and we fought about her returning to Beauxbatons Academy. I insisted that she stayed home until she regained strength and she insisted that she return.
Then New Years Eve she collapsed.
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