Catching Butterflies

There is a story behind my writing this short story, but I won’t share it unless you ask me in person. What I will say is that this was the first short story in my life that I wrote with ease. It broke some mental barrier that I had put up and I was able to write without feeling an awkward and anxious agony, like I was trying to paint with my feet. This story did it. I thank it, and I thank you for reading it.
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I knew it was the wrong decision when I saw the butterfly.

It was dirt brown and amber, and fluttered an inch away from my face. If I had grabbed the thing I imagine it would have fit neatly in my palm. Instead I simply let it fly past, passively observing it as it flew from my left to my right, then into the bushes where it disappeared.

With it gone I had to focus again on my dad and his friends as they played basketball at our local park. No, that’s not true at all. I wasn’t really focused on their game, but my anxiety about being next up to play. I didn’t play sports – I still don’t – but my father brought me along. In his words, “I just think you need to move your body a little more.” There was no meanness in his words, but they hurt nonetheless. I was standing on the sidelines of our local park’s basketball court out of guilt for being a quiet boy who watched life from his bedroom window and drew pictures of trees and hummingbirds. I was standing there because I told my dad I would play, but when I saw that butterfly I knew I made the wrong decision.

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