The Butterfly Girl

There's a new girl at school. A weird girl. No one likes her... But Michael does.

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1. The Wedding Speech

“Hey, thank you all for coming, it means so much to me to have you here to celebrate Jessie’s and my marriage. I didn’t quite know what to say about Jessie, so I wrote a story about how I met her, which I will read know. It was sort of magical.
“I drove into the school car park. Man it felt good to be a senior. I parked beside this tiny, blue opal. The back seat was strewn with brightly coloured objects. Folders, books, a drink bottle. There was a strange rope with feathers hanging from the review mirror. After staring at the bright mess for a while I went into school. My best mate Aaron came hurrying towards me, dragging his girlfriend Clarisse.
“‘How’s it going mate! According to your facebook you still don’t have a girlfriend.’ He said, hitting me on the back. Aaron and Clarisse had been travelling around Europe with Clarisse’s parents all summer.
“‘Yeah. How was Europe?’ I answered, changing the subject.
“‘It was sweet. That’s one of the good things about having a girlfriend with rich paren-‘
“‘Hurry up! You’ll be late for assembly!’ Mrs Sithers screeched at us, shooing us towards the hall.
“Nothing worth mentioning happened in assembly. I just sat with my year, and tried not to fall asleep.
“After assembly, I went to tutor class, where I picked up my timetable. It told me to go to maths. As I walked up the staircase, I noticed another strange and colourful mess. Exactly the same style of sneakers, except one was bright pink and the other bright orange. Unmatched socks hidden slightly by long, loose, faded denim jeans, with a loose yellow shirt tucked in. All worn on a slender girl with long, curly blond hair, with tiny bows or pieces of ribbon tied here and there. I hadn’t seen her before. I followed Crazy Colour New girl into our maths classroom. On the roll she answered to ‘Jessica’. That maths lesson I didn’t focus multiplying, I hardly even looked at the board. Jessica was sitting in front of me. I got lost in her sea of blond hair. I swam with the multi coloured ribbon dolphins, danced around the walls of blond curls. Why should I pay attention to ugly numbers when I could play in this beautiful paradise? All too soon the lesson ended. I was dragged out of the blond ocean, reality puffed back into me, like air for a person drowned at sea. Except air is usually welcome, reality is not.
“Thankfully we had English next. I sat at a desk, got my books and pencil case out, then looked up. Jessica was sitting side on to me, her face masked by a curtain of long hair. I realised I had never seen her face. I wondered what her face would be like. Sharp? Smooth? Mean? Royal? I paid a little more attention in that class. I loved English. The teacher was testing us on the basics. She asked us why we use exclamation marks, I put my hand up, and she chose me.
“‘To put me ex-‘Jessica had turned to look at me, exposing her face. Deep emerald eyes, that told stories of lost mountains, valleys, and war. Soft, delicate features, but sharp cheek bones. Rosy, natural lips, seven cute freckles on her nose. She wasn’t wearing any make up. How could someone such baggy clothes and no makeup resemble a goddess in such a way?
“‘Michael?’
“‘Oh! Um, to put more excitement into the text.’ It wasn’t a very good answer, but it was all I could do at that moment. Jessica smiled at me. Her perfect lips parted to show a row of wonderful pearls. I swear one of them caught the morning sun and sparkled. It was a sight I wanted to witness every day.
“I watched her all day. I was such a stalker, but it was worth it. I noticed everyone else staring as well. But they were pointing and whispering. No one talked to her, but they did occasionally yell things like ‘couldn’t find the right shoes this morning?” and “are those your brother’s clothes?” at her. I couldn’t understand. Who cared what she wore, she was still amazingly beautiful. I was standing, watching her eat her lunch alone, when Aaron came up behind me.
“‘She really needs to tone it down doesn’t she?’ he said
“‘Pardon?’ I asked, confused and coming back to reality.
 “‘Well look at her!’ he said ‘there’s a difference between being original and being plain strange.’
“‘I think she looks fine’ I said. Aaron raised his eyebrows at me. Luckily Clarisse came and took him to the canteen, saving me from explaining.
“I really wanted to talk to her, but I was too shy.
“The weeks went by, and she had a friend for a little while, an unpopular kid in our year, way below what Jessica deserved. But the unpopular kid was soon bullied, and threatened. Her things were stolen and her car graffitied on. We were warned that it would happen to us if we tried to make friends with Jessica. So the unpopular kid moved on, and lived a peaceful life with three other rejects. I thought all of this was a little serious, I suppose our school really didn’t like people who were different. She took to staying on a little deck that over looked the river. She would stand alone, leaning in the railing, watching the river rushing underneath her. Now I was shy to talk to her, and scared that I would be bullied because of it. I still watched her though. I learned that not only her car and dress sense were vintage, her accessories as well. She told the time from a pocket watch, wrote with a fountain pen, and specialized in art with a quill and ink.
“It was the Friday of the third week of the second term when it happened. The day that decided my future. I was walking up the same set of stairs on which I saw her for the first time, and I saw, lying on the stairs, a large, black metal locket, with a beautiful, colourful butterfly on the front, the chain connected to it broken. It had to be Jessica’s. The chain must have broken and it must have fallen when she rushed down the stairs. I picked it up. I felt like kissing it. Finally an excuse to talk to her! I slipped it into my pocket and hurried over to the river side of the school. There she was, standing leaning on a railing of the deck, all I could see was a mass of blond hair and a loose purple shirt tucked into a long, green skirt. I hesitated, the walked boldly up to her.
“‘Jessica?’
“She turned to face me. My heart skipped a beat when I saw that tears were sliding down her perfect cheeks. It was like snails had slimed all over a smooth piece of marble.
“‘Yeah?’ She asked. Her eyes expressed misery and worry. I don’t know what made me do it, or how I had the courage to do it, but I hugged her. Her curly, blond, ribboned hair brushed my face, a sweet, strange sent I had never smelt before swirled up my nose. When I released her, her expression had changed to surprise. I smiled at her, and got the pocket watch out of my pocket.
“‘Is this yours?’ I asked, holding it out to her.
“‘Yes!’ she said, gently taking it from me. She cradled it in her hands, then beamed up at me. ‘Thank you so much! But, why?’
“‘What do you mean?’ I asked her.
“‘Well, most people wouldn’t give it back to me; they would keep it, or throw it away. Why are you different?’
“‘Oh! Because I’m not stupid like everyone else.’ I laughed, and then my face softened to seriousness. I reached out and gently brushed off a leftover tear on her cheek with my hand. ‘Why were you crying before?’ I asked softly. She turned and leaned on the railing again, still cradling the pocket watch.
“‘Because I couldn’t find this, and I thought someone must’ve picked it up. My Grandfather gave it to me just before he died. He said it was to remind me of who I was. Ever since I was born I liked colourful, vintage things. He always supported me in this. He called me his Butterfly Girl. He knew he was about to die, I was there when it happened. I don’t know why he died, I was five, to young to know the details, and mum refuses to talk about it. But when he died, I decided that no matter what people thought of me, I would be true to myself, always be grandpa’s Butterfly Girl.’
“She told me more about her background, I told her about mine as well. After that day I didn’t care what others thought, I had Jessica, or Jessie as I called her. I learned to not care about things being stolen, simply replacing them, or having my car graffitied on, just painting over it. I got a very multicoloured car. We fell in love, graduated from high school, and as you all know, very recently got married."

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