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.


11. No news isn't good news

We couldn't find any tomatoes in the fridge, so Lisa and I cut up some bananas and used the pieces to play Dr Lee’s game. Peggy found us throwing the bananas against a cardboard in the backyard. Porky was eating the banana pieces off the ground. They were her bananas - she was planning on making a smoothie for her new diet. Oops. But what else were we supposed to use? Now she's mad at us and she's giving us the silent treatment. Now I have a problem. Teacher gave me a letter to bring home for Mommy to sign and I just know there's something in there about all the Maths I’ve been skipping and my 9 trips to the detention room. I can't let Mommy see this letter. My only hope is if Peggy signs it for me. As long as an adult signs it, my teacher won't mind. I know Peggy won't tell Mommy if I beg her and promise to do the dishes for a week. Well, normally she wouldn't tell on me, but now I’ve gone and smashed up all her bananas. Now she’ll stay cross for a few hours and by the time she gets over it, Mommy will probably be home. If I don't take the letter signed to school tomorrow, my teacher will call Mommy at home. So Lisa and I decided to make small mud cakes next time and use that instead of fresh fruit or vegetables. They make an even better mess. Right now I need to find out where Mommy's gone and what time she'll be back.


“Peggy, um, I know you're angry with me and I’m really very sorry about your bananas, but I must ask you something." "What?" "Where’s Mommy and when will she be home?" "She’s at the police station in town." The police station? I wonder if... "No, they haven't found the urn yet but apparently they've got a lead – they called this morning to ask Mommy to go down to the police station so that they can discuss it with her. And I don't know how long she's going to be." "What lead?" If it had been anything else, I’m sure she wouldn't have bothered giving me time of day. But it's about the urn, about Daddy's ashes. "All they told Mommy on the phone was they got a tip-off that someone was trying to sell a large golden vase on the black market. More than that I don't know. Sorry." And she ends the conversation by turning back to the computer in front of her. She’s chatting with her boyfriend again. My heart is suddenly beating really fast, so I go to my room to sit down and think. I wonder if Daddy's ashes are still in the urn. We might find out soon enough. I can feel a headache coming on. I think I’ll just lie down for a bit until it passes. Where’s Teddy? Oh yes, I took him to Mommy's room the other night. I’ll get him later. Just let me close my eyes for a minute...


I forgot completely about the letter and although Peggy has by now forgiven us, it's too late to give it to her to sign. Today is not going to be a good day for me! Mommy came home pretty late yesterday. As soon as she’d had something to eat, she sat us all down and explained to us what the police told her. Someone has been asking around for a buyer of a large ornamental golden vase – I guess the police have spies who tell them these things. I asked Mommy where this black market was. Maybe she could go there and buy it back herself. She said it's not actually a place, but a network of people who know each other and do trade. Why do they call it a market then? And why is it black? Anyway, the police told Mommy they've heard from a number of people that they were approached by a young man to buy this vase, and they also told her the price he was trying to sell it at. Mommy said it cost more than that when she had it made. The police said the thief only wants to get rid of it now and will still be getting a lot of money for selling something that doesn't belong to him. Nobody said anything about ashes. Mommy looked very nervous. I know she's worried that Daddy's ashes may already have been thrown out. Anyway, the problem now is that someone has probably told the thief that the police are looking for him and now, Mommy said, he has gone underground again. I supposed that's not an actual place either. Now we're back where we started. My big sister, Sue, pointed out that at least we know it was a man who took the urn, people have seen him and they will probably spread the word that it was stolen. That will make it very difficult for him to sell it, which is good for us. Mommy said the police believe the thief is an amateur. If he was smart and experienced in this kind of crime, he would know exactly where to find a buyer and never get caught. So yes, it was a good thing, but also a bad thing. It might be a very long time before the police can find him or the urn, and in the meantime, we all just have to sit here and worry about what's happened to Daddy's ashes. It made me think again about that nightmare I had, when Daddy told me to find him. No wonder I woke up this morning with another headache. I think I’m going to hide the letter from school away for the moment and tell teacher my Mommy was too busy at the police station yesterday to sign the letter. Then I’ll ask Peggy when I get home from school today to sign it for me. That way, Mommy won't have to have another thing to worry about.

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