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Like the Butterfly It has been three years and five months since the day that tore her world apart. The memory still feels like yesterday. Now she lives away in a world she hides her heart, with new faces and new feelings. A day she bares all the hurt is a night she cries herself to sleep. She still cries in the corner of the shower, her tears blending in with the water droplets that land on her face. She is Theresa, broken child. Life is a tangle. People take it for granted, some abuse what they have and who they have. I stand between two worlds, looking into a life I cannot control, my life. I’m watching into the world of dear Theresa, her past in these photographs. Such an innocent girl who witnessed hurt, heartbreak and eternal sadness. The world dealt her a weak hand. Her life once burnt with a clear perfect flame. That was then. But don’t you realise yet? Theresa is me, the old me. Not the Theresa you see now, but the Theresa I was all those years ago. Have you ever watched a butterfly soar? Just out of reach it lingers for what seems like a lifetime, in an eternity of shining blue skies. It glides on the thin air, its paper wings holding it up so high. At peace with the world, it sits above us all, but the flight is soon extinguished. Live your day like it’s your last. Live your day like a butterfly, hold your head up high. Amelia saw a twinkle in Theresa’s eye and wondered what it was. She kissed her little baby on the forehead and wiped away the tear that had fallen. Two weeks old and she was as beautiful as ever. Her name had been decided, it would be after her best friend, such a striking name. Amelia placed the baby back in the pure white bassinet and exited; she stood looking at the name on the door and smiled, “Theresa.” A different photograph, and now I am five. A squeal of excitement. Theresa sat on her bike, training wheels off and Amelia standing behind her. “Don’t let go mum! Please, don’t let go!” Amelia said smiling, “You’ll be fine, just start peddling. You can do it!” Theresa followed her mother’s advice and began to peddle; soon she was down the street. Joy surged through her body, she felt on top of the world. Success! “I’m doing it! I really am!” She turned her head to look behind her. Shocked she saw her mother at the end of the road. Why did she let go? Theresa wasn't concentrating enough and lost her balance. “It's ok baby, I'm here, I'm here, it’s ok baby." Before she knew it, warm arms wrapped around her tightly. “Mummy, my knee… It hurts.” Amelia hugged her daughter, rocking back and forth.


Theresa cried unhappily. Amelia kissed her child on the forehead and hugged her, “I’ll come with you.” Her voice was sweet, soft and warming to Theresa’s ears. It was the first day of school, in a new home, she had no friends. Amelia watched as Theresa packed her bag and slid it on her back. She bent down and caressed her five year old. “I love you,” she whispered in her ear. She took her hand and they walked merrily to school. As soon as she reached home, Amelia rushed to her bedroom. She shut the door and collapsed. Theresa depended on her, gazed at her with those blue expectant eyes. Little did she know about the events to come! Amelia buried her face in her hands. Her anguish filled out the silence; she slowly slid down the door, face resting on her knees. Her whole body shook. She howled, “There must be another way. It’s not fair.” Well, come my dear reader, let’s not fuss. We have to move on. A blade raised and below it is a tormented face. It lingers in the air, and then sliced down toward its victim. Amelia screamed down the house; it made Theresa and Tracy jump. The two girls turned to look at her. “MUM!” they laughed. Amelia ran up stairs and covered her eyes. “Is it over? Is it over!” Theresa looked back at the television screen, while Amelia stood at the top of the stairs blocking her ears. “It’s just a movie Ma.” Amelia came running down the stairs and sat in between the two girls. Tracy petted Amelia on the head, “Good girl, sit!” Theresa smirked and threw a biscuit on the floor, “Go get it, go get it” Amelia smiled, raised an eye brow and gently slapped the two behind the head, “Whatever I am, you are, I hope you’re not calling me a bi-” Theresa slapped a hand over her mouth. “OH MY GOSH! We’re related?” Tracy closed her eyes and blocked her ears “La la, you’re lying!” she teased. Amelia laughed at them mimicking their mouth movements and placed an ‘L’ on the top of her forehead. “Loooo-seerrrrrss!” They all began to watch the movie again as another tension scene surfaced Amelia stood up squealing and ran behind the couch, then up the stairs again; trying to escape the sounds of the movie. Theresa laughed, “We’re adopted” she said grinning. We must move on, to a day I know she’ll never forget. She is curled in the foetal position. A month until her 14th birthday. The grey sky covers the


sun. Theresa holds a photo frame close to her chest, silently weeping. Gathering herself she stands, her brown hair falling into her eyes. Now her photo is exposed. She places it on the bedside where it belongs. A smiling woman in sepia sitting on a tree swing. Relaxed, glowing, she is beautiful. Theresa looks back at the picture. “I miss you already.” Her voice cracks and she lets out a soft whimper. As she enters the church, eyes pierce her. This is not like walking down the aisle. She sits down; music plays, people talk. She watches, barely holding her emotions within. It’s finished, she struggles to her feet, walks over to Amelia’s casket. Hold your head high, my darling. Next to the casket stands a small table. She picks up the same photograph from her room, a tear falls on the glass. She places it back down. Theresa stands at the casket looking in. "Amelia," she whispers gently. That isn’t her mother. Her eyes water; she doesn’t want to be alone. Yet here she stands, totally and utterly alone, in a room filled with people she knows. A day never to be forgotten, do you agree? “Happy birthday dear Theresa!” They sing joyously to her as she rips into the presents. Tracy hands Theresa a letter. “Happy birthday,” she said quietly. She looked up frowning, "Thanks.” This was new. What is it? Later that night she sits on her bed studying the envelope, the letter read: 14th Happy Birthday, Darling Theresa! This is your 14th birthday! Have a great one, my darling, and I’m so sad I can’t be with you. I love you sooo much! Remember I am always with you, you carry me in your heart. Every time you think of me or remember me in some way, I am with you. When you walk to the school bus or you are doing your homework, I am with you. When you feel sad or shed tears, my darling, I am with you. Be true to yourself, my girl. Enjoy your year as a 14-year-old. Be good my darling. There will be another letter waiting for you on your 15th All my love to you. Theresa, you are a wonderful kid and one day will be a fantastic woman. Hold your head up high, be proud of who you are, look to the future with much anticipation. It’s all yours if you want it I love you, I love you, I love you. Yours always, Mum xox


As she folded the piece of paper, the scent of Amelia filled the room. She began to breath deeper and slower. One month, you couldn’t wait one month? Angry thoughts surfaced. She wrapped her arms around her chest; it didn't work. Lying on her bed, she took out a piece of paper, laid it down and wrote: Oh mum, I’m lost and I can’t describe this sadness. My life is a mess. Everything seems so hard. I miss your hugs, wish you were here right now, I wish the tears would go away. I wish that I could have one more day with you. I feel cold. I miss you. I want you here. I love you. She folded the letter, wrote an ‘A’ on the front of the envelope and sealed it. Theresa stood to her feet straightened her dress; anyone could have told you she’d been crying. Her face was red, eyes blood shot and her hair was shocking. Back to the new me. Nothing much has changed. No miracles here, dear reader. Just a battle, with old scars. But… When I look around, I can see photos with memories attached. Amelia got cancer. How did she make it? With her head held high and a smile on her face. Amongst the make-up and lies, I can see Theresa, sometimes. Amelia would not know this girl I am now. Sometimes I see the little five year old in me, deep inside. Theresa is me. I fall to the floor; my knees feel the impact, my hands hold my body up. Barely. The photos of the past surround me, imprisoned in this circle of pain. I’m locked in. I close my eyes and smile. Here is a picture—five year old Theresa, blowing out candles with a hand on her shoulder. When you feel sad or shed tears, my darling, I am with you... Hold your head up high. Like a butterfly. We live, we die; old and young. Live your day like it’s your last. Like a butterfly, reach for the sky. Hold your head high.


Like the Butterfly  

Randolf Stow entry (Geraldton Writing Comp)

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