All my life I've been fascinated by the butterflies. The way they could dance carefree beneath the clear skies, their beauty, their grace and elegance. Yet beneath all this grace and beauty lay a fragile creature, so elusive and yet if you held on too tightly it would crumble in your very hand.
You taught me about the butterflies. Do you still remember that day, that day in our childhood? I still do, it seems like only yesterday. We were so innocent and foolish, and yet we were so blissfully happy. I wish things could be like that again.
I was staring at a butterfly as usual; I must have looked so silly, with my mouth half open, eyes glued on the tiny creature dancing before me. I reached out and grabbed it but when I opened my hands to reveal my prize, all that was left was a bent and broken creature. It's beauty and grace had been stripped away from it, leaving only a mockery, a pale shadow, of what it once was.
"You mustn't hold on too tightly or they'll crumble, gently cup them in your hands. In the end it's the butterfly's choice if it wants to stay with you."
Those were your very words; they still ring fresh in my mind.
We've spent a lifetime together, so many hopes and dreams, so many butterflies shared gently cupped within our hands. I love you but I suppose it's too late to tell you now. Today's your wedding day and although I don't want to, I must attend. I owe you this much.
You taught me how to dream and long and such, you taught me about the butterflies. Long ago we promised that if we were ever torn apart we would continue to strive towards our dreams, never giving up hope, never giving up on the butterflies. I don't know if I can keep this promise, it feels as if you have been torn away from me. You've guided me for so long, I don't know if I can make it alone.
You were so happy when you came to me, bearing the good news. It was my duty as a friend to smile and congratulate you, be happy for you. But I can't wish for you to find happiness, please understand. Did you notice that my smile didn't quite reach my eyes, did you notice my lack of enthusiasm? I'm still choking on those words, on that false smile.
I can see the dark clouds gathering, covering the clear skies with a thick veil. This brings a guilty smile to my face. I want it to rain on your wedding day; I want it to rain on your happiness. I feel disgusted at myself for wanting this but I can't help it, I'm too immature and petty.
I hear the noise of a single raindrop striking against the windshield, it is quickly proceeded by another, and then another; soon I lose count as the rain pours down, drenching my world in its misery. The gentle tapping of the rain takes on the pulse of a reverent mantra, swiftly moving in and out of harmony with my own heartbeat. It evokes a sense of calm within me, and brings forth a false sense of surety. For a moment I lose myself in its soothing rhythm, but only for a moment.
I feel a thin rivulet of moisture trail down my cheek; odd, I'm sure I closed all the windows. Tears? Why am I crying? I should be happy for you; you deserve to be happy. But I can still taste the salt of my spiteful tears and I feel ashamed for being so weak. I'm ashamed at myself for clinging to you in this fashion, without dignity or pride. Pride and dignity, those were the very two things that kept me from being completely honest with you, funny how they should seem so petty now that it's too late. Now that I look back you've given me so many chances in the past but I had always been too proud or stubborn to recognize them. I can feel myself laughing now, laughing without humour; I seem to be doing that a lot recently.
I have arrived now at the reception. The parking lots are nearly empty and yet I know that most of the guests have already arrived. You and I, we've never had many friends but we've always had each other. That used to be enough.
The rain continues to pour. Perhaps the wedding will be canceled. I would like that, wouldn't I? But I know it's not going to be canceled. You planned so long for this, and you wouldn't let something like the rain stop you now.
This place, I remember this place. We used to come here together to gaze at the butterflies. I wonder if there are any here today. I doubt it or maybe I just don't want there to be any here today. I gaze around myself. There aren't very many guests but those here all seem so happy for you.
A single butterfly drift, no, it falls towards me, its wings borne down by the weight of the rain. I reach out and gently cup the creature in my hands, sheltering it. You two look so happy together, gazing into each other's eyes. I feel the urge to crush the fragile creature in my hands, if it would crush your happiness.
The minister begins to speak and you both begin to exchange your vows. The words sound horribly empty in my ears, horribly wrong. I want to speak out, object to your union but the words just can't seem to surface. You two look so beautiful together, even drenched by the rain. You deserve to be happy; I can't take that away from you. The ceremony is over now, and in spite of the rain, all the people are laughing and dancing. I have no place here. You turn to face me, and you smile at me.
"We'll meet again, right?"
Your words wash over me, carried by the cold wind. I smile. Almost unwillingly, my lips turn upward. My only response to you is a brief nod before I turn to leave. Together we have made so many precious memories here, shared so many butterflies. They will always live on deep within my heart; I'll cherish them until the end. Although you may belong to another, we can still be the best of friends.
The rain has stopped and the skies are clearing, bringing forth the light shining down from the heavens. My car is in the parking lot, just as I left it, drenched but looking cleaner than it was before the rain. I look at the butterfly I still hold gently cupped in my hands, a wistful smile crosses my face. There will be other butterflies in the future, I'm sure of it. But it's time I let this one go.