Butterflies

Robyn's just been dumped.

To be honest she saw it coming, he'd done it before, she just believed it was her lot in life to continually deal with it.

But things are changing, Robyn's opening her eyes and starting to realise that her life isn't as mapped out as she once thought. Fate has something interesting in store for her. But is she ready for it?

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent- Eleanor Roosevelt

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7. Broken

I'm rocking back and forth in the front seat with my head in my hands. I probably look a little demented but my back is itching like crazy and I'm trying hard to think. I screw my eyes closed in my hands as I try to figure out how I've been living in a vacuum for about six months and only just noticed. I think hard on my least recent memory:

Leo and I have just moved in to our house. We're both standing in the cream-coloured hallway waving off his parents in the removal van. They drive off down the street and Leo shuts the solid oak door. Smiling ever-so-slightly at me he turns on his heel and runs up the stairs, going into the spare room to unpack and set-up his beloved computer. I move to the couch and sink into it, looking out the window as the sun sets. I don't know how long I'm sitting there in silence but by the time I realise that a very tiny Rosie is licking tears from my cheeks, it's night-time and I'm in the dark. 

I shiver involuntarily. Ethan asks me how I am. I Ignore him, trying to concentrate. I push at the syrupy-mess in my brain begging to go back just a little bit further to understand the trigger that somehow made me forget a good portion of my life. I keep pushing until I get an intense headache but I only manage clear memories of my childhood, before I met Leo and my parents emigrated which is more than a little alarming.

I lift my head out and see that the clouds have taken over and the crisp, bright morning has altered to a typically British miserable afternoon. The dark clouds have overtaken the sky, smothering all presence of the winter sun and replacing it with lashings of thick rain, pelting the windscreen and the road. The sound nearly deafens me and I cover my ears. Talk about being self-absorbed, how am I only hearing this now? I must have been really focussed on the pointless endeavour of trying to understand my own mind. After a few seconds I adjust to the noise.

'Hey' Ethan says quietly.

'Hey' I whisper back, not taking my eyes from the menacing clouds, hoping it isn't a particularly obvious omen.

'We're almost there Robyn, don't worry. She'll be fine.'

'You don't know that.' I snap back, immediately hating myself for being so harsh when he's only trying to help. But I'm scared. I'd give anything to go back to the apathy of yesterday. Anything's better than this bone-chilling fear. My back spasms in pain, as if on cue and I gasp and stiffen. 

'Try to calm down. Your wings are literally itching to get out in answer to your fear. If you keep panicking then they will and I'll have a huge hole in my roof and quite a few injuries considering we're currently doing close to 100 miles per hour.' Ethan reasons, looking straight at me. I laugh, glad of a distraction however farcical. I can't think of wings, and angels and all that nonsense right now. But I can't think of what I need to either. Finding pieces to this puzzle.

I'm so frustrated I feel like screaming, which is so out-of-character for me, I don't understand it. It's like I haven't felt any strong feelings for such a long time that now they're all coming at once. So vibrant, so frightening, so exhausting. I close my eyes and try to find a positive, a silver lining in the disaster that seems to be my life right now. I visualise the dark clouds that are surrounding the car and push at them, hoping that by metaphorically moving them it will somehow move the real obstacles in my mind. I keep pushing, and finally, thankfully, see the sun. It's so beautiful and warm.

Strange that I'm so close to it.

I hear a muffled gasp to my right and my eyes flash open at Ethan. 

'What?' I ask, confused.

'You're glowing.' He smiles.

'Thanks' I smile, pleased at the compliment however random. He laughs:

'No Robyn, you're literally glowing. Look.'

I look down at my hands and see a soft white light surrounding my skin, all over me. The warmth I felt when I closed my eyes and pushed at the metaphorical clouds must be from this glow. Suddenly I'm ridiculously happy. Even though I'm scared, well terrified actually, of what I'll find when we get to Gran's,  and I don't have a freaking clue why I'm glowing like a firefly right now: I'm happy. Maybe I've lost it. I wouldn't be surprised. But for once I don't try and analyse it, I just bask in it.

**********

For the rest of the journey, I don't stop smiling. Feeling quietly content. My happiness must be infectious as Ethan smiles back as we talk of bands, films and TV shows, and after a while he starts to glow too. Like me he doesn't analyse it, although I can tell from his shocked face that it's as new for him as it is to me.

I'm laughing hard at his impression of a comedian we both like, when I look to my left and see the street sign for my Gran's road and I turn cold. The glow disappears as the debilitating fear that I'd successfully pushed away for a few hours resurfaces with a vengeance. I don't look at Ethan, who's gone quiet, unable to tear my eyes from the long road, dreading what I'll see at the end where my Gran's beautiful cottage has always been. Even Rosie's not bouncing about the back-seat as she was a few minutes ago.

I look out the windscreen, but can't see her house. The suffocating clouds have made the late afternoon so dark. Ethan slows the car, moving at a snails pace, obviously wary. I wish he would hurry. I itch to open the door and run to my Gran's, needing her embrace more than anything.

After what seems like an eternity, I see the house. Or what's left of it. Charred remains of the black wooden beams that held the Tudor cottage together, are still smoking. Looking at the nightmare in front of me, I remember seeing a news report about a volcano and the miserable remains of a forest that had been in its path. Apart from the wooden beams, everything else is a dried-molten mess.

Ethan stops the car and I launch myself out of the passenger door, needing to see this horror close up. I run up to the house and stop at the twisted iron gate and take it in. Close up it's worse. I can see the arm of the leather sofa, shrunken and melted and I make out other bits of furniture  only able to recognise them as I knew them so well before. Apart from the few wooden beams still standing the only part of the once-beautiful home that is still upright is the front-door. Once a cherry red with a brass lion knocker the flames have licked the bottom of it and the paint has bubbled and turned the colour of blood. The lion's jaw has slackened with the knocker close to falling out, as if the proud cat is mid-scream at the devastation around him. I want to scream myself, but although my mouth opens and I feel the need to release my anguish and cry out at the evilness in front of me, nothing comes out. I shake uncontrollably, as if my body is aching to sob and mourn the old home, but it doesn't come.

I start to sway on my feet, close to passing out with the wrecking pain shaking through me. I feel Ethan holding me as I sink to the floor. Unable to say or do anything, I bury my head in his shoulder and cry silently. My shaking body the only visible sign that my paradise, my sanctuary is lost. 

Every other house in the long road is standing tall and perfect, only this one is destroyed. It hits me that I haven't seen my Gran or any sign that she is alive. I start to convulse violently and shake my head, unable to process the high probability that she's dead. I scream out for the first time as the energy builds in my back and I feel two gigantic limbs retract. I pull away from Ethan and put my head to the floor, my wings covering my body as I sob loudly, lost and broken. 

 

 

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