A week before my wedding, butterflies haunted me.
One rested on the wall next to my bed. He was white with delicate pink and yellow patterns outlined in a rich dark blue. He kept me company while I sank into the world of Hemingway. He was right beside me when I chased hunters in Africa, watched bull fights and sobbed about a hinted at abortion and the human condition. He refused to move. In the end I gently chased him out of the window for I feared he would starve to death otherwise.
Literature cannot feed your body.
Perhaps, I was presumptuous. Perhaps, the butterfly knew better.
One followed the bus I caught with my bridesmaid to visit the salon. She was (the butterfly) velvety brown with white swirls on the wings. She couldn’t keep up with the bus but managed to wish us good luck, fluttering about in a frantic good bye dance.
“Lovely colours!” the bridesmaid exclaimed. We smiled at each other in the spirit of shared love of beauty and the knowledge that we were finally free of our traumatic past, at least for a while.
One sat on a broad green leaf in the garden while I poured my doubts into a sympathetic ear of a long-suffering friend. She (the butterfly) looked like a would-be butterfly-zebra with her black and white patches. The two tiny patches at the end of her wings were tinged orange and pale green.
“You will cross the bridge when you come to it,” the long-suffering friend stated.
One escorted me home on a sunlit morning following a night of revelry with the girls. He had blue-black wings sprinkled with a hint of silver. He was the largest of them all and reminded me of a childhood friend I once made in the woods. The said friendship lasted a single blissful day for he was a migrant butterfly with enormous wings.
“That was a beautiful day in the woods,” I reminisced.
A week before the wedding, a throng of butterflies infested a mango tree near the Kelaniya Bridge. They were orange, yellow and white. They swarmed above the gold tinted mango flowers in frenzy. I drank in the beauty, the dust, petrol fumes, warm sunshine, the noise, the pulsating energy and the dirty waters beneath the bridge.
In a riot of hues and fluttering they visited me on the morning of my wedding. I sat in the garden with a cup of tea before braving the world as a bride, apprehensive yet charmed with the idea of a new beginning. The brown and white spotted butterflies flitted from one orange blossom onto another, in eager anticipation of nectar. A lone small, yellow butterfly shied away from my eager gaze.
I sat with my half-drunk cup, daring to imagine a better future with the blessings of my beautiful butterflies fresh in my heart. A dusty ray of sunshine shimmered onto my bare arm, infusing me with warmth on a chilly morning.