D u s t B u t t e r f l y
B y B a b y P o p M a s s a c r e
There, drowning amongst my Cheerios was a fly desperate to stay afloat upon edible life rafts but death was inevitable. I watched him empty-headed and numb wishing I had the courage to permanently submerge myself in water. I had tried to once before but he caught me before I could even count to 35.
I pressed my knees closer to my chest as he came closer and sat next to me on a bar stool. The air in the kitchen grew still and soon all I could hear was the soft tapping of his finger, particularly his ring that vibrated against the table in an uncontrollable twitch. He was going through withdrawal. A mere absence of cigarettes that made his heterochromatic eyes darkened and caused him to replace his love for nicotine with an obsession for berries.
Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries- so many succulent fruits were occupying the refrigerator, kitchen countertops and even the mini-fridge in his study. It was truly sad but what was more pathetic was the fact he was doing this all for me.
CW, he called himself, reached across the table and grabbed my hand loosely holding it. "You haven't eaten your breakfast." He rubbed the palm of my hand in a soothing fashion.
"I'm not hungry." I jumped hearing his bar stool scrape across the floor coming closer to me. His lean arms encircled my waist and he rested his head on top of mine.
"You smell so good. The mail came in today. There was a letter for you."
"For me?" I slowly turned to him. His gentle smile contradicted his true nature.
"A love letter from that candy shop boy. I threw it away."
My heart actually sank. CW must have noticed my disappointment because he half-laughed and stood to his feet. Using a few fingers, he slid my cereal bowl across the table with a laugh growing more maniacal.
"My timid angel! Tender and sweet!" He shouted mocking what perhaps were the words written in the love letter. "You mean the world to me, my Augustine! How I love you. How I desire you! Ha!" My bowl finally tumbled and shattered onto the gray tiled floor. "He thinks he's some kind of poet. I'm the true poet-the true writer." CW's voice calmed again and emptied itself of all its personality. He heaved a deep sigh and tiled his head in my direction. "I think I'm going to take a bath. You're more than welcome to come with me."
I looked off into space and slid off my chair passing up his offer and headed for the study. It was a stupid place to go but it was away from him. I didn't have much control of anything under his physical ruling but I could deny him verbally when I pleased.
Down the hall, I was able to catch a glimpse of myself in a large mirror. I saw a face. It was of a girl I didn't quite recognize as myself but I knew it was me. Her hair was dry, tangled but fluffy. Her clothes looked oversized and originally belonged to CW. She looked so sad and tired.
I sucked in my bottom lip and entered the study lined with books upon books. Loose papers scattered the dark carpet and the semi-transparent curtains swayed gracefully in the open windowed breeze. I sat on the windowsill and dared to look outside. There were never any signs of life other than the invisible birds chirping happily.
I remembered a time when I was happy. Before all this mess became a reality.
I really wasn't looking for anything other than a book on personality disorders but for some reason I was drawn to the crowd of people flooding the romance novel section. I'm not one to follow crowds but all the feminine squeals and giggles were making me unbelievably curious.
It was a book signing. A famous author had come to town and from what I could see he was quite popular. I studied the books stacked on shelves near the crowd that had now formed a line. The novels looked extremely thick and when I lifted one I was impressed. The massive book had a charcoal colored covering and a picture of an open birdcage on the front. There was one single yellow feather that curled at the edge of the author's name which read "Cyrid Wolf" in silver cursive lettering.
"The Black Canary." I read the title out loud causing one woman to turn.
"It's a great book!" She spoke enthusiastically gripping her own copy to her chest. "He's written 6 books all together! Every one a best-seller!" She giggled.
I wasn't much of a reader so I had no idea who she was talking about. I could tell she knew I couldn't indentify with her excitement.
"You should really read one. I'll even pay for it!"
"Really?" I raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah! I already bought my copy from yesterday. I'm just here to get mine signed." She snuggled the black book once more and bounced a little. It was an immature act that didn't match her age. She stood on her toes trying to get a better look at the author who I couldn't see either. "Oh. Why do all of his fans have to be so tall?"
I looked at the black book and the psychology book in my hands that looked like a pamphlet in comparison. "So what kind of author is he?" I asked.
"You mean besides an excellent one?" She joked. "He writes romance novels. Nothing smutty. They're very sophisticated and elaborate."
"I see." I turned to read the back of the book and soon found myself turning to the first page.
I lifted my head seeing the woman grinning at me. "Look at her. She's already on the second chapter." She laughed.
I noticed the crowd that was once in front of us was now behind me. I never realized I was in line for the book signing.
"Who's next?" A male voiced asked.
"Not me." I mumbled taking a step back. The book was getting good but I wasn't the type of person who wanted to meet the being who strung the lovely words together.
"Oh don't be shy. Go up there." The woman stood behind me and pushed me up to the table where a couple women were still chatting away with the author until they were finally dismissed by an employee.
I placed my book on the table lightly which Mr. Wolf snatched up and became inspecting. I did some inspecting of my own over looking his odd appearance. He looked tall with apple white colored skin. His hair was a thick mess of alabaster with ends that curled in various directions. His lean chest was covered in a red wool sweater and he wore several rings on his left fingers.
"And who am I making this out to?" His voice was filled with youth and he looked up at me grinning. Indeed he was young. Twenty-four? Twenty-five?
I blinked at how stunning his green eyes were hiding behind thin-rimmed glasses. His eyebrow rose at me.
"Oh! You asked me a question. You can just sign your name, I guess."
"I see. You're keeping this book for yourself?"
I nodded watching his pen swirl as he wrote.
"May I have your name?"
"August? Well August I hope you enjoy this book. I put my heart and soul into it." He handed me the novel and shook my hand that I didn't even offer.
"Thank you and I will."
After the woman from the book store paid for The Black Canary, we talked a bit more before going our separate ways. It never ceases to amaze me how crazy people can become over one person.
"At least he's talented." I spoke to myself finishing off chapter five on the curb of Kingsland Boulevard. I flipped back to the cover page to admire his signature when I found a small note that I didn't see before.
"Do you talk?" I questioned the…question. There was a phone number also and when I reached my house, I was even more curious. I spent the majority of my time avoiding the book in the middle of my bed. It called out to me every time I passed the bedroom door.
Finally I decided to call. I was a 19 year old woman who could take care of herself and if things got out of hand all I had to do was hang up. Not to mention I needed a new soul to talk to. I loved my friends but everyone is in title to a little update.
The phone rang twice before it was picked up and I could hear him clearing his throat. "So you called. That was fast."
I bumped into my dresser. "How did you know it was me?"
"I just knew. This is weird, isn't it? Talking to some random person."
"Not really. I mean it sort of is if you think about it too long. Why did you give me your number?"
"To see if you would call. You were so quiet compared to everyone else. It was unexpected."
"Also because you inspire me."
"Oh really." It was a sentence I've heard far too much especially in high school surrounded by the future "rock stars" and choir boys. "What about me inspired you?"
"You just look like someone I know is all. Your face brings back memories. Good memories."
"Then you can use those memories and write a book with them."
He laughed softly. "I've already jotted a few ideas down."
At this point the awkward feeling began to set in. Although I was talking with Cyrid in a casual manner, I wanted to stop having fully realized I didn't know anything about this man much less did I care.
"Well I have to go now-"
"Why don't we meet somewhere?"
"It's still early in the day and I'll be in town for a while. We can meet and go someplace to eat if you're hungry."
"No thanks. I don't exactly think it's a good idea to hang out with celebrities."
He laughed in that whispery tone again. That gentle tone that made me smile and relax.
"You're taking too long."
"No I'm not."
"Yes you are."
"Just hush and let me think." I flicked a hand at Cyrid as he hovered over me watching me guess where my fingers go on the piano. We agreed on the lobby inside the Novem Hotel. The suggestion sounded suspicious at first but once we met I could see why.
Whatever I craved or needed the lobby would assist me with its many boutiques and little restaurants. As a bonus, Cyrid was a frequent resident and had bought a suite on the higher level of the building. We purchased two cans of Dr. Pepper and decided to play the hotel residents a little song.
"Can you play anything?" The author asked.
"Hm. It's been awhile. Row, row, row your boat is all I can remember."
Cyrid laughed his laugh and slid next to me bumping his hip with mine. "Well since we're playing for a crowd of prissy business executives, I think we can skip that melody." He rolled up the sleeves of his sweater and I watched his long fingers stretch across the keys. A few of his rings clanked against the white scale and he frowned pulling them off. "I can't play with these things." He handed them to me and began.
It was a slow ballad. Maybe Mozart? Beethoven? I wasn't too knowledgeable when it came to classical music. Whatever the song was it sounded beautiful. I looked around us seeing if anyone was as soothed as I was. A few people slowed to a stop while others glanced but kept on walking. I turned back to Cyrid who was lost in his piano playing. He held a serious disposition on that boyish face of his. He watched his fingers dance and smiled every now and then.
When the song ended, I as well as a few onlookers applauded him. He grinned and nodded before turning to me. "Still want to play Row, row, row your boat?"
I got home around 9pm, 6 hours later than what I initially planned. The neighborhood was alive with crickets and the neighbor's dog announced our arrival. I didn't see my mother's car in the driveway so I figured she was out drinking again.
"So this is your house." Cyrid leaned on my mailbox.
"Don't say it like that. You sound like a stalker."
He laughed. "No. I'm just glad we finally made it. You should have told me you lived so far away."
"You should have offered to drive me home."
"I would have but I didn't think you would like being in a stranger's car."
"Then what was the point of this argument?" He grinned looking me over swiftly.
"It's getting late." I pointed back at my house and began to walk away. "I'll call you sometime."
There was a sad look in Cyrid's eyes. "August."
I turned back to him seeing he had caught his sleeve on my wooden mailbox. He looked completely helpless as he fought with it like a kitten with his paw stuck in a hole. I never felt sympathy for anyone in such a situation but he was melting my heart.
"You are pathetic." I actually grinned helping him untangle the fabric.
"It was an accident. I was actually going to ask you something."
"What would that be?" His wool sweater was really wedged in the mailbox.
"Do you believe in love at first sight?"
I stopped my work just as the wool fibers were released. "What?"
He leaned over the mailbox cupping my face and delivered the softest of kisses. Though I contradict myself considering this was my first kiss. His lips felt fragile against mine, nervous and warm.
There was a light smacking sound when we separated and Cyrid sighed unsteadily. "That was better than any kiss I've ever written. " The slight humor in his whispery voice was adorable.
"You should have taken notes."
"I love you August." His pale cheeks had a rosy hue to them.
I could only smile. Yet another line I've heard before.
Cyrid's eyebrows knitted together in an innocent fashion. "Why won't you say it back?"
"Because until I know everything about you and you know everything about me, I can only say I like you."
"Then let's start right now." His confident laughter filled the night air as he tugged me towards my house. That night we spent the majority of the time in the backyard hammock. He did the most of the talking exposing secrets and embarrassing moments from the past. Even when my turn came, boring stories and all, his enthusiasm did not subside. From then on I knew Cyrid and I were going to be close despite the quick development but what I didn't know was how close we were to become.