He was a lightning bolt of energy. He took the stage in a way I had only known one other person to do in the same way. And that was me. He was bold and big for a guy who was actually not very big. He consumed every ounce of attention he was given. He knew all eyes were on him. His movements were like water. Flowy and delicate, yet powerful. The girls behind me giggled and exchanged whispers about the boy in gray. There was not a doubt in my mind that he knew the attention he got from girls. It was in the way he moved. The theater erupted into silent chaos. It was almost as if I could read everyone’s mind. He was something special. I remember that day like it happened yesterday. The applause, the atmosphere, and especially, the boy in gray.
Red and Green: The Butterfly Queen
A month or so went by. I had been pondering the decision that at the time seemed like life or death. One path could keep me where I had always been. The other could lead me to an open door of an opportunity; a new start. As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, that’s exactly what I wanted; a challenge. So, instead of staying in my comfortable little bubble, I popped it and ventured elsewhere. I walked in breathless and wide-eyed at how much my surroundings had changed. They shook my hand and greeted me as if they had known me my whole life. Their smiles were genuine and eyes filled with glee that was almost child-like. The eyes are a passageway to the soul. One look and you can see what someone is truly feeling. Theirs were honest and curious. They circled me like puppies. Sniffing me out, but not being too quick to judge.
A list hung on the wall, consisting of names that correlated with the people walking in and out of the door to the right of it. The closer my name got, the more butterflies began to appear. With different patterns and colors. Red ones with dots. Green ones with stripes. Orange, blue, yellow, purple, white, pink, teal, salmon, black, red, green, red, green, red, and green. They built and flew. Mechanical butterflies with rusty wings that grazed my stomach. Not sharp enough to cut through, but just enough to notice. Red, green, red, green, red, green, red. The Butterfly Queen. Red and green. She moved with grace and greeted everyone with a soft touch. She flew swiftly to the floor and began to speak to those around her. Her voice was like the wind, smooth yet sharp. I stood behind, nearly frightened but eager. I was caught, new to the kingdom and wandering around aimlessly. She introduced herself. Though no trumpets did sound, nor banners were thrown, she was indeed the Butterfly Queen. Her wings were porcelain and her crown was ice. Fragile and dainty, she carried herself like so. She spoke of playing pretend and the many imaginary friends she had made. Jersey girls, princesses, mermaids, and servants danced about. A flicker in her eye shined through. She recognized me. Almost as if we met once before. She became tangled up inside my imaginary friends. They certainly had met.
Just as she began to enter the playground, a voice called out. The voice was energetic and filled with excitement. I recognized this energy. Just as I had the first time, months before. The boy in gray. I looked at him. I had never seen him up close. He was like the others, but something was dissimilar. His smile was genuine, as were the others. He was curious and honest, as were the others. Although, something was different. His eyes. Oh, his eyes. The passageway to the soul. I did not stare for long, just a glance. A glance was all it took. There was something about him that made him unlike the others. It made him seem that what he showed was much different than he let on. He hid. Just as I did. “You were my favorite.” I blurted out. His face turned pink. I was definitely not being flirtatious. Though I may have received strange looks from the others surrounding us, it was true. When he took his place on stage, he commanded and led. He took control and demanded that all eyes were on him. But I shrugged it off, not to think about it until the very next year.
Not long after discovering the kingdom, a new list appeared. I took the paper in both hands and filed through the many names. There it was in bold black ink. This list was much like the one before, only something changed. It was permanent. I could now live within the walls of the kingdom. Along with this newfound excitement came great fear. What was it really like to be apart of the kingdom? It seemed like a magical place on the outside. Walls of gold, beautiful vines wrapped around it and blooming irises aligned the courtyard. But what did the inside look like? From the outside it seemed as though it was where passion was founded. But was it everything I had made it seem to be? I thought so.
I returned to where I came from. I spread word of the beautiful kingdom, the butterfly queen, and all the sincere smiles. I wished I found kingdom sooner. Those whom I had known for years would ask “Why?” There was no way to describe the feelings that rushed through my veins when I stepped into the kingdom. So, instead of explaining a feeling with no explanation, I smiled. Just as honest as the butterflies had. You will never know what it was like, until you meet them.
A bright light lit up from the far corner of my bedroom. It was about mid june, the temperature had already began to lower, but the summer feeling had not settled in yet. A message in blue displayed across the small screen. I did not recognize the name, but they seemed to have known mine. A welcome to the kingdom seemed to have been taking place. An exchange of our imaginary friends came about. We discussed the kingdom and the excitement between the two of us. I was still left with the curiosity of whom I was speaking to. I skimmed through the many photos that rested on their page. It hit me. The boy in gray. I continued to speak to him about playing pretend and the new kingdom. He was just as enthusiastic as I thought. Everything seemed as if it were an extravagant event.
Though he may have seemed so tame, his flirtatiousness fell on almost naturally. He treated himself as a coquet and those around him treated him just as so. It was a warning. He could be easily pushed away unless I intended on keeping the compliments around. I did not intentionally decide on keeping them, they stayed because they flew naturally. And so, within the first week of stepping forth into the kingdom, they drifted gently into my lap.
A Twister, A Tornado
The kingdom was just as I thought it would be. Beautiful, magical, and made of gold. But venturing from the path I was used to was more difficult than I originally thought. Like any challenge, there were rocks, twigs, and thorns. Yes, there were roses that were more beautiful than anything you could’ve ever dreamed of, but the thorns were as sharp as knives. Digging into your spine until you bled. The petals were frail and began to break even with the smallest touch. The citizens smiles were honest and pure, but mine was painted. I wanted to intertwine. That became the biggest challenge. A connection.
The only familiar mark within the path was the tornado. She cut through the kingdom like a freshly sharpened blade. Her hair twisted and turned as she spun about. She danced through the kingdom, occasionally bumping into the golden walls but seemingly was never scratched. We rarely came in contact up until we entered the gates of the kingdom together. We had seen each other before. Our imaginary friends had played together long before the kingdom. Why now? Why did we just now intertwine? She would pick up objects and set them down gently, making sure it wasn’t harmed. She discovered new routes beyond the kingdom and found gold in the filthiest places. Not chaotic, nor calm. She fused the two together to create a boundary for herself, something no one but herself could see.