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.

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32. Falling apart

Something’s wrong. Mack is pacing nervously up and down the cabin and keeps looking at his watch. Finally, footsteps are heard above – Skinny and Barney are back. They come down the stairs, their faces looking glum. Skinny is the first to speak up. "He wants the whole lot but he didn't have enough cash on him. I told him to give me what he had and pay the rest tomorrow, but he said he doesn't do business like that and what's our hurry anyway." Mack’s face is black with anger. "And?" "He’s coming back tomorrow with the full amount and because he's making us wait, I told him he has to arrange for the removal himself." "Okay, okay, I guess that'll have to do." He pats Skinny on the back. "And, he said he wants to see the other stuff too. He might have a buyer for us!" Barney is bouncing up and down like a school kid, waiting for his pat on the back. He gets none. Mack is pacing again, clearly deep in thought. Barney persists, "So tonight's the night, huh! Woohoo! We’re going to be loaded! We have to celebrate. I’ll go get some--" "Shut up!" Mack has his hand up but he's not even looking at Barney. “We’ve got to get these two on tape first and then we've got to take it easy until tonight. We’ve got to be at our sharpest come 9 o'clock. Whitey, bring that tape recorder." Whitey brings it and goes over to get the girls. The young girl winks at her little sister and says, "Mack, we'd like something to eat first please and if you don't mind, we could use some fresh air." All 4 members of the mullet gang are staring at her. She seems different somehow – in control. "Sure we can sort that out for you, just as soon as you--" "Sorry, Mack, but no. We're really hungry and it's stuffy down here." Mack’s mouth is open and he looks like he can't decide if he wants to smack her or smile at her. "Very well, Minnie. I guess you two deserve a break. Of course you can have your last supper, with us I mean, out on the deck? Whitey, see to it."

The sunlight is blinding and as they emerge from the cabin, it takes them a while to get used to the glare. Although it's already late afternoon, it's been a very hot day and the water is perfectly calm. Whitey brings them sandwiches and juice. They take their time eating and take just as much time to have another good look around. There isn't another soul in sight, which is probably why Mack was so willing to let them come up on deck. Mack and Skinny emerge from the cabin with a painting each and disembark. The girls watch as they walk over to the yellow car and open up the passenger doors, put the paintings inside and cover them. Following soon after them, Barney comes clambering up the stairs carrying the shoebox. Suddenly the young girl loses her nerve. "Where are you going with that?" "None of your business, brat!" She tries to get in his way and Whitey pulls her back. "Back off and let him pass or we'll dump your daddy's ashes overboard with you." Coming from Whitey, that was really hard for the girls to swallow and the tears are now flowing freely again. "Say goodbye to daddy, brats!" Barney's waving the box at them and it falls out of his hands.

The golden urn hits the wooden deck with a solid thud, rolls heavily on the floor, gleams in the sun and casts a yellow sheen around it. The girls gasp and Lisa falls onto her knees, reaching it before Barney does. "Daddy!" Whitey plucks Lisa up by the back of her shorts and suddenly the young girl jumps onto Whitey's back. She’s clawing at him and trying to scratch his face with her chewed-off nails, but Barney pulls her off him. Barney and Whitey drag one girl each down the stairs, kicking and screaming, and not even the sight of Mack’s knife can silence them. "Little idiots! Are you two crazy? What makes you think you can fight us? You’ll get yourselves killed and it won't be my fault!" But Mack understands all too well that they are terrified now that the urn has been taken away. "Right! We can either send your mom a recording of you two screaming and let her wonder what's going on or you can behave like ladies." The girls check each other for cuts and bruises and eventually stop whimpering. "Speak into the recorder as if you are speaking to your mom. Say whatever you like, even how much you miss your teddy bear!" They do as they're told and immediately afterwards, are taken back to their mattress at the far end of the cabin.

 

 

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