Yeah, I know what you're gonna say and I know what you're gonna ask. The answer is quite simply, no. I could not foresee that Tuesday afternoon being destined to have a critical impact on my life. How could I, after all? It's true, I was in a rather optimistic mood that day, but to be frank it had been the same for all of that week. There was literally nothing special about that day, nothing spectacular, nothing which stood out. Not even so much as a hint of some kind of an impending major event.
The weather was very good for the season, which made my brief ascent from my house to the café easier. I cruised rapidly through the city's micro-atmosphere, like a hot knife through butter. It seemed that day was going to be effortless, carefree and pleasant. I sat on my usual chair, had my usual drink, crossed my legs in the usual fashion and with my usual hand pulled-out my work papers. The paper-pile was unusually light, that's true.
I begun to read intensely, getting more and more focused on my work whilst the (as per usual) scolding-hot filtered coffee gradually come closer to becoming drinkable. I was focused, concentrated, truly committed in my reading when I sensed a slight shiver. No, I tell a lie. It wasn't a shiver. I actually felt my right eyelash move a bit. It was as if my brain was nudging me to take a look at something. But I didn't need to move my eyes away from my papers. I didn't need to turn my head. I didn't need to even budge, in fact.
She landed on the top right hand corner of my work-papers in a smooth and particularly graceful way, quite unexpectedly. The way a tiny feather drops, pushed softly down by the smallest possible amount of gravity. Gravity had helped her land but it had not pushed her down. It was as if gravity was trying not to harm her by being too forceful. Her wings were blue and black and contrasted beautifully with the brown wood of the coffee table and the bright white of the work-sheets in front of me. Her thread-light hair was brushed onto the right side of her head, falling down to her shoulders, leaving her left ear slightly exposed to view. It was just enough to let someone catch a glimpse, nothing more. She lifted her eyes diagonally to her left, without moving her head, looked me in the eyes and gave me a warm, heart-stopping smile. It was as if she was smiling with her whole face and not just her harmonically shaped, compact, cute mouth. She appeared obviously resilient and purposeful and with clear ideas in her mind about what she wanted. But all I could see was her fragility and her phenomenally rich emotionality. It was hard to resist her and she was beaming.
It wasn't as if this was the first time I had ever laid eyes on a butterfly before. And yet, she had caught my eye in a very peculiar, a very atypical way. You would expect me to say that I was dumbfounded, stunned, etc, but that wasn't so. Curiously enough, I was puzzled. Yes that's correct, puzzled. She hadn't simply impressed me she had made me become deeply intrigued by her. No matter how attractive I though she looked, my overwhelming desire was in fact a tremendous wish to get to know her. In an instant, I realized that she was looking at me smiling and all I did was to stare back at her with a puzzled look on my face. I immediately smiled back and asked her how her day was going. I know, but hey, that's what came to my mind at that point and that's what I said.
We started talking and she begun slowly - in a sense cautiously - to tell me about her. She had a visibly endless amount of things to tell me and I kept listening. My comments were few and far apart, a subconscious mix of not wanting to interrupt her and thinking that what she had to tell me was more important than anything I could have said from my side. At a certain point, whilst she was talking, she begun to move. Randomly at first and then in what appeared to be a circular way. I'd soon come to realize that her movements were in fact a vortex. Each turn, brought her closer and closer to the center of her trajectory. Each turn, brought her closer and closer to my right hand. It took me a while to understand that this was what she doing, but I finally figured it out.
I couldn't tell you why, but at a certain point I instinctively turned my right hand upside-down, exposing my palm to her. My fingers moved, on their own it seemed, slowly. More and more open, until my hand was fully unwrapped, the tip of my right index now millimeters away from her. She stopped moving. She stopped speaking. She looked at my hand, then at my fingers and at my palm and at my wrist. Her eyes moved over my hand, examining it, analyzing it, processing it, identifying it. She flapped her little wings revealing even more of her colors than I had initially noticed. She flew a few centimeters higher than my hand, moving carefully left and right, up and down, diagonally, in straight lines, going backwards, going forwards. She behaved as if she had just discovered my hand existed and wanted to have a proper look.
She was trying to decide what would be the best place for her to land. She was choosing where exactly in my palm to land and she seemed to be doing it with such an unusual deliberation. She had done this before it seems and she probably felt she had to get it right, get it absolutely one hundred percent right. I was watching her, but she didn't mind me doing that. She stayed focused on her task...at hand; ah the irony! And then, all of a sudden, she lifted-up rapidly, she stayed in the air and leaving me completely flabbergasted she forgot all about the palm she had been exploring all along and came and sat much closer to me, on the edge of my elbow in fact. She smiled. She smiled a massive smile, smiling as usual with her whole face. She was happy, that's exactly where she wanted to be. She turned her lovely little face towards me and I burst into laughter. She laughed too. It was as if she had realized that was she had done lacked coherence or lucidity or even logic, but that's what she had wanted to do, so that's what she had done.
Ever since that day, we've come closer to one another, got to know each other better. I still haven't learnt how to best approach her and I end-up frequently scaring her, making her uncomfortable. Most of the time I sense how inadequate my behavior really is; sometimes too weak, sometimes too strong..never quite right. And yet, she comes to visit me quite often, flying around me, over me, landing on my hand or on my fingers or on my forehead or on one of my ears. She comes in real life and she comes in my thoughts. She comes to say hello, offering me one of her epic smiles and I smile back at her. Two smiles joined together by an unidentified, cosmic force. Two smiles into one. The same smile, mirror-reflected in two different beings. And we stay there sometimes. Suspended in perfect equilibrium, against all odds, in the crisp winter air.
(Thank you for reading and hope you liked this short story. The next chapter "Get the most out of this story" contains additional info and insights on this story which hopefully you will find interesting and useful)