Year of the Butterfly

Life goes on.. even when you lose someone you love, even when you don't know what to think, how to feel, how to act and what to say. Everything will be okay, is what people like to say, but it won't and you know it. All you can do is bury your grief and hide, and hope on the surface at least life will appear to be normal. Is there any hope?
This is a story of a young girl battling with the loss of her father. Accompany her on a journey of self-discovery and misadventure as she negotiates her way through bereavement and processes the unanswered questions. Along the way, there are dreams, visions and schemes, at least one golden urn and a kidnapping. Her story is about a metamorphosis from pain into renewal and growth. Her destination is a place of hope with a promise of healing.


28. A shimmer of hope on troubled waters

Mack has started yawning. He tells Barney to do first watch and to wake him up at 2 o'clock in the morning for his turn. He lies down on his sleeping bag and almost immediately starts snoring. Barney has some more whiskey and glares at the girls. They too soon fall asleep and Barney gets up to look over the pile of loot. He’s pulling off the sheet when he hears the wooden boards up on deck creaking again. There is definitely someone up there! He tries to jump over Mack but trips and wakes him up in the process. "What are you doing, you idiot?" "There’s someone out there!" And off they go again, running around in the darkness, only to come back looking wild and confused again. "Are you sure you heard footsteps? Maybe it was the wind, man!" They look at each other and look away again. They’re embarrassed because they both know there's barely a breeze blowing outside. "Look, maybe it's a cat or something. I don't know. Maybe old boats make creaking sounds like that. Who knows? Can you handle this on your own now? Can we go back to sleep, please?" Barney nods sheepishly and goes back to the table. "And quit drinking that whiskey now!"

The boat is finally quiet again and the girls look at each other knowingly. Just as they're about to fall asleep again, a new sound is heard, like something or someone knocking at the door. This time Mack wakes up and with an exasperated grunt jams the key in the door and opens it up with his knife on display. Nobody. He turns around and Barney shrugs his shoulders, looking perplexed. Mack is about to say something when the knocking sound returns, but this time it's coming from the bathroom. Now the girls know they were right and they're not scared. Instead, they're enjoying the comedy of these two bullies with their mullets and tattoos running around scared opening doors to nobody and wondering out loud what could be happening.

The young girl can't resist. "The same thing happened last night. Didn’t the others tell you? They were scared too. Your boat is haunted." "Shut up! Just shut up, you stupid--" "You shut up, Barney! Hey Minnie, thanks for your opinion but I’ll ask for it if I ever need it." Just as the words leave his mouth, they hear the toilet flush. Mack moves so fast, it makes their heads spin. He opens the door with his knife, ready to fight. Nobody. He even looks up at the ceiling and into the toilet bowl, which is silly and he knows it. He bangs the door shut and the same way Whitey stormed over them, Mack is bearing down on the girls with his fists balled. "Talk! Why don't you look surprised?" "Don’t you mean, scared?" "Don’t play games with me, little brat! Talk or I’ll cut your tongue out!" Lisa starts to cry but her sister just folds her arms across her chest, pouts and looks cross. "Why don't you ask your friends? They know this boat is haunted. It isn't my fault you stole from us and took my Daddy's urn, and you broke your promise to Mommy to let my sister go!" Mack looks like this time he might actually hurt her, but he pulls out the phone from his pocket instead and dials a number. "Skinny, it's me. Look, I’ve got a weird question to ask. Did anything, um, strange happen on the boat last night?" He's listening and rubbing his forehead... "You’re kidding me, right?" ... "And why didn't you tell me about it?" ... "Okay, never mind. Doesn't matter. See you tomorrow."

He hangs up and sighs. He walks slowly over to the girls on the mattress with his one hand on his hip. "So you think it's your daddy, do you? Come to mess with our heads, has he?" Silence. "Well, maybe I’ll do myself a big favour and just empty that urn out overboard, so that I can sleep tonight, huh? What do you think of that?" "No, please, I was only kidding! I'm sorry, I take it back. Your boat isn’t haunted – I was only joking, okay?” She's pleading so hard and Lisa is crying from the pit of her stomach now. Mack ends the drama by saying very loudly, looking all around the cabin as he does so, that the noises had better stop or else he might get really angry and do something everyone will regret. He goes back to his sleeping bag, lies down and is soon heard snoring again. Barney looks unsure of himself, especially since he can still hear footsteps up on the deck above, but he chooses to ignore the sounds. He empties the whiskey bottle and soon falls asleep too. The girls are comforting each other and as soon as she hears Barney snoring too, the young girl gives her little sister a reason to smile. "Did you hear him? Daddy’s ashes are safely inside the urn! Now we can stop wondering and worrying about it. Isn’t that great, Sis?" Lisa wipes her eyes dry, nods and smiles. "Daddy’s safe."

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