Butterfly at the California Academy of Sciences

Butterfly (For John Blue)

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I’ve been in a funk lately. Really, extremely asocial. Hating that I am alive and hating the world. I know, is the sky blue or what? I’m always mad at the world for one thing or another.

Today is my Friday. My first actual Friday in FOREVER. I got paid today. And an early out. I will cry when I see my paycheck next pay period, but I’ll take it. I want to curl up and die.

After stopping to get some food for dinner, I pull up at the stoplight that gets me back to my house where I can get out of my lizard skin and be my true self.

Something moving on the median catches my eye. I realize it’s a butterfly. They are the most random insect you would ever find here, but we get them. It’s been pretty mild lately. It barely hit 100 today. And it’s already the end of June!

I have my windows open because the sun is hiding behind a cloud. I can handle the late afternoon heat. There’s a funky little breeze coming through, and I wanted to enjoy the last vestiges of the bizarro weather.

As I wait for the light to turn red, I’m thinking, “It’s gonna fly up in here and freak me out.” I don’t mind bugs, but I’m not too fond of things flying in my face. Shoo fly, don’t bother me.

I’m vibing to the music on my phone coming through the speakers, keeping my eye on the light… when the butterfly decides to fly into my car.

Of course, right?

It freaks me out only because like I said, I’m not too fond of things flying in my face, as benign an insect as a butterfly is. It lands on my chest, and I look down at it. It was orange with single white spots on each wing. I thought it was a monarch, but no. I don’t want to hurt it, so I try to nudge it toward the window.

Instead, it smacks itself around (it looked disoriented if you can believe that) and lands in that tiny space between my seat and the door.

I think fast, making sure the light is still red.

Its wings look like they were pounding hard as I unlock my car and try to shoo it out. It freaks out from the movement of my hands but does find its way out eventually. Just as I finished doing that, the light had already turned green.

I shift out of neutral, shut my door and step on the gas to meander my way home.

Then I stop and think, “Why would a butterfly fly into my car?” You can be a heartless bastard and think, “It was just a random occurrence.” But it wasn’t.

In my family, butterflies are good luck. On a deeper level, we believe butterflies are relatives who have passed, coming in to check in on us.

I don’t know who visited me, but I have the faith to know that someone is looking out for me in heaven. They came to me as a butterfly to let me know everything will be alright. That this is just a temporary funk like they always are. How do I know this? It’s called belief.

When we had our family reunion in Pearland many moons ago (the early 2000s or so), halfway through the celebration, a butterfly flew in. This was the family reunion when my little brother and I danced the Tinikling. For getting confused and flying inside a building, it was so calm you could hold it in your hand.

I and my cousins who were around my age were in awe. The aunties were like, “good luck! good luck! Don’t kill it!”

We decided then that it was Grandpa coming to say hello, checking up on us and making sure we knew he was watching us from heaven. We released it outside, and it went on its merry way.

That was my day today. How was yours?


hand drawn old school boombox with antennae accepting sound, broadcasting sound via the speakers

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