Butterfiles

There was a time in my life when beauty meant something special to me. I guess that would have been when I was about six or seven years old in the orphanage.

I would get up every morning, make my bed and get into one of the two straight lines and march to breakfast with the other boys who also lived in my dormitory.

After breakfast one Saturday morning I returned to the dormitory and saw the house parent chasing the beautiful butterflies who lived by the hundreds in the bushes around the orphanage.

I carefully watched as he caught these beautiful creatures, one after the other, and then took them from the net and then stuck straight pins through their head and wings, pinning them onto a heavy cardboard sheet.

How cruel it was to kill something of such beauty. I had walked many times out into the bushes, all by myself, just so the butterflies could land on my head, face and hands so I could look at them up close.

When the telephone rang the house parent laid the large cardboard paper down on the back cement step and went inside to answer the phone. I walked up to the cardboard and looked at one of the butterflies that he had just pinned to the large paper. It was still moving about, so I reached down and touched it on the wing causing one of the pins to fall out. It started flying around and around trying to get away but it was still pinned by the other wing with another straight pin. Finally its wing broke off and the butterfly fell to the ground and just quivered.

I picked up the torn wing and the butterfly and I spat on it’s wing and tried to get it to stick back on so it could fly away and be free before the house parent came back. But it would not stay on him.

The next thing I knew was the house parent came walking back out of the back door by the garbage room and started yelling at me. I told him that I did not do anything but he did not believe me. He picked up the cardboard paper and started hitting me on the top of the head by. There were all kinds of butterfly pieces going everywhere. He threw the cardboard down on the ground and told me to pick it up and put it in the garbage can inside the back room of the dormitory and then he left.

I sat there in the dirt, by that peach tree, for the longest time trying to fit all the butterfly pieces back together so I could bury them whole, but it was too hard to do. So I prayed for them and then I put them in an old torn up shoebox and I buried them in the bottom of the fort that I had built in the ground.

Every year when the butterflies would return to the orphanage and try to land on me I would try and chase them away, because they did not know that the orphanage was a bad place to live and a very bad place to die.

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