Chaotic Little Butterfly

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic


I’m tired of watching the road. It’s like watching a treadmill. Nothing ever happens and it hypnotizes you to sleep, but you know, at the back of your mind that if you stop watching for even a second, your whole family could die. And it would be your fault.

 

I used to love falling asleep in the back seat of my dad’s truck. Especially late at night on a trip home from my cousin’s house in Houston. It would be so peaceful to listen to the quick intermittent dips in the road knowing that my dad was protecting me and my siblings. But I can’t do that anymore.

 

Now I follow the road carefully, because I’m almost positive my dad is over the legal limit.

 

Even small wavers in his driving scares me, but he doesn’t like it when I complain or alert him. So, I just sit there, hoping we get to our destination in one piece.

 

It feels like forever.

 

I can’t even tell how old I am anymore or when this current bender will end.

 

The sands of time fall on the ground outside the windows.

 

It falls softly and I try not to look at it.

 

Maybe that was the hardest part. I could trust my dad deeply half the time and then not trust him at all the other half. Sometimes I wish it was just one or the other.

 

I never knew what to expect. Am I going to get the loving playful dad tonight? Or is he going to try to pick a fight with a stranger in a parking lot?

 

Am I a human butterfly effect? Knowing that each thing I do could change the course of eternity? Could make him die, could make us all die? If I tried to move these butterfly wings to get comfortable, would I cause hurricane force winds to knock us off the road? If I launched off my seat and fluttered about, would I get in the way of him seeing? If I nodded off to sleep, would I wake up from the impact where truck meets tree?  I guess I’m just a butterfly trying not to flap my wings right now, sitting on this car seat, trying to blend in.

 

And right now, I wish I could just fall asleep. I wish I didn’t have to constantly have my eyes on the road every waking moment. I wish I could rip out my senses and not smell the vodka emanating from the orange juice in the cup holder. I wish my morning routine wasn’t secretly smelling his drink before school and then watching as he drove away begging God that this wasn’t the last time I would ever see him.

 

The first time I remember feeling deeply & incredibly alone was when I was sitting in a line at the gym in elementary school. I had my tiny backpack on and my legs crisscross in front of me. And suddenly a weight filled me up like sand in an hour glass with nowhere to go. I think I was holding on, it’s just a matter of time before it’s all over and he’s gone.

 

I remember when I was carefree, I would walk along the halls of my elementary school and day dream. I would watch the scattered white dots on the floor pass by creating little shooting stars. I would wonder, are all dots just tiny lines when you look really closely at them?

 

And now I’m watching the lines in the road as they pass by and they are no longer stars, but an endless chore. My neck hurts from craning my head and I sit there wishing and wishing for my dad to get better, so I could dream again.

 

And now, here I am, at 29 years old. Still watching the road in front of me and I don’t even know who is driving. Sometimes I jerk awake from sleep thinking I’ve nodded off. Then I realize I’m in my bed and I don’t hear the road anymore. And I wish I did. I wish I was in the back seat listening to the intermittent dips. I wish I wasn’t a chaotic butterfly trying to blend in. I wish every little thing I did didn’t make me watch the dominoes unfold thinking it would strike a match on a fuse of dynamite.

 

Sometimes I feel like I’m just buying myself time as I sit here looking at the melting Salvador Dali clock I have on my window sill. Should I just let it run out?

Should I let ants devour it while I lay in the desert and cover myself with memory?

Would it have helped if I let go of the sand that filled me?

Or should I break every analog clock I see and wrestle with the hour, minute, and second hand?

So, here I am with a sledge hammer sitting on top of a giant hour glass below me. What will it take for it all to fall apart?

Just a little tap.

Just a little prick of the glass.

And then anything can happen.

Anything can happen.

Anything.

And it could be terrible beyond comprehension.

Or… it could be amazing…

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Suddenly I’m leaning against a cracked window

And I see shooting stars passing in front of me

They look like reflective markers on the highway

And I feel the dips in the road carrying me

I get the feeling that I’m going somewhere I’ve never been before.

I guess I’m just a chaotic little butterfly flapping my wings

And it’s going to be….?

Better.


Submitted: May 06, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Roxanne Byrne. All rights reserved.

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