When the Butterflies Fly Away

On a hike down a little trail, the smell of the Kentucky River was strong, and hot rocks on the shore emitted that slightly metallic aroma. Dannon followed Eve down a thin trail, which was more just a path of parted grass that the girls had to comb through to continue through to their destination.

Dannon followed behind Eve as quick as she could, but the grass brushed her legs far more than grass usually would have on her average day drawing at her desk. She had to continually shoved aside the thought of the bugs that were probably crawling all over her, but Eve was a good six feet away, pounding through the tall grass after the sound of the water. Eve’s urgency to reach the river made it a lot easier for Dannon to feel the exciting sense of adventure, even if she was a little out of her element.

“Have you ever been down here before?” Dannon panted from far back. She could see the shore of the river glowing from where she stood in the shade of the trees.

“Yeah! All the time. It’s beautiful.” Eve‘s voice responded from far away near the edge of the trees.

Dannon was in no disagreement. The entire hike took her breath away, both in beauty and in the physical sense, she was one hundred percent sure she would be sore for the next three days, but all the color and the peaceful sounds of the forest were more than worth it to her.

Eve chuckled watching Dannon shuffle down the steep end of the trail until she finally came to a stumble at the shore. The sun bounced off the rocks in a way that the heat felt thick and solid. She squinted to see anything, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the bright sun after being in the shade of the trees.

As Dannon walked along the shore, she kept tripping over the unstable rocks, trying to see as much nature as she could before she would recluse in the indoors again- and Eve sat on a large rock, overlooking the wide river that ran below the precipice towering above her, it lorded across the water, and from below Eve sat in awe as usual.

The girls were unaware of the importance of this hike. See, they were actually somewhat strangers, Eve and Dannon had only known each other through a friend, but, Eve wanted to go on a hike- so bad, she was willing to invite that short girl she knew from student council last year. And Dannon was just itching to meet someone new, and if it meant stepping out of her comfort zone, she was happy to do it.

Even in the silence during just those twenty-six minutes on the rocks and the soft breeze mixing around the heat, there was something there neither girl knew was there, right under their noses.

Dannon walked back closer to the trees, the rocks were reflecting the bright sun into her eyes, putting her in almost a haze that left her moving and thinking slower, so she was put in a motion that she couldn’t help but be in deep thought. She caught her foot on a rock- and suddenly there was a burst of white butterflies that rose from the ground out of nowhere.

At first, She noticed the quick movements of the shadows they cast. she was thrown off, because She had not been quite as aware of her surroundings as she was the world in her head, but she quickly understood they were just innocent, soft wings, and they all hovered over the rocks for a while. She just stood, smiling, taking in such a wonderful little thing, thinking about how the gentle bugs just chose to swirl around together at her feet, even though she had disturbed the place they were, they all hopped in the air below her, almost as to just let her enjoy the simple blessings they were.

She took the opportunity in her hazed state of mind to contemplate how she related to those common white butterflies, she grasped the magical moment like it was temporary, because it would only last as long as she needed to learn-

Enjoy the moment now, and even more later.

And as the butterflies dispersed as quickly as they came, Dannon let out a small sigh through a crooked smile.

She turned around to get a look at who would be her new best friend, the girl who watched the butterflies from her rock. The second she made eye contact with Eve she sprinted over to her.

“Did you see that? That was so pretty!” Dannon was still beaming at the thought of the new memory.

“It was,” Eve pulled her little backpack up off the ground. “You ready to head home?”

“Yeah- OH!” Dannon was amazing she hadn’t asked such an obvious question yet- “Do you want to spend the night??”

Eve almost always said no to that question.

But there was a pause. “Sure!”

One year, two years, three years, they stuck together. Concert tickets, sleepovers, talks in the car, amusement parks, everything best friends did. Time passed in a blurry mix of fun and emotion.

But one summer, Eve left on a trip.

Texts between Eve and Dannon proved Eve wasn’t gonna be the same when she came back.

Eve’s new friends weren’t as excited about talks in the car, or sleepovers or amusement parks. It was more about the parties and grown up things.

And when Eve came back, things just stopped being the same.

Dannon didn’t think about the argument often, in fact, Eve said not to talk to her again. But things change, people change, it was okay.

For Dannon: New friends, new life, different concerts, new sleepovers, her own car to talk to friends in, that new amusement park. Dannon found it pretty easy to fill a day with productivity and throw some fun in there too.

And after a few months, Dannon realized… she hadn’t journaled in a while.

She knew it was because her next entry would be on Eve, regarding all the good times had, and how things aren’t like that anymore. She knew she would write about the fun times and the concerts and the amusement parks… She knew she would write about how quickly she came and how quickly she left. She knew she would write about how wonderful her memories were with Eve. How a friend like her to just spend time with, to be close to in your high school years, is normal. And yes, high school friends change. Just like anyone else. In the end, they were just normal, common girls. But she was so happy she got to spend that simple, exciting time of her life with someone.

And now, sitting here, on her bed, a dim light and a hot-chocolate candle, She writes:

“And then the butterflies flew off. I almost felt like I didn’t deserve to enjoy them, in a strange way, especially for as long as they chose to fly with me. They all dispersed as quickly as they appeared, but I was still left with that smile. In fact, I noticed I chose to be more happy when they left then when they came, happy I saw that beauty, that I got to experience those common white butterflies.”