I don't know what woke me up that morning, but it was 7am when I stirred and could not go back to sleep. Strange, considering I could barely keep my eyes open, having slept not more than three hours earlier. I was feeling edgy, cranky, and full of angst. I felt like I had had enough with work, enough with life, enough with the pressures that come with certain social obligations and I wanted to forget it all. I had done all I can and I wanted nothing more than to just go back to bed, forget about the problem and deal with it only later, at a more reasonable hour.
But something woke me up, and it seemed determined not to allow me to go back to bed. Instead, I paced the confines of my room, shufle, shuffle, back and forth. And then I heard it, a crack. Small, barely audible, but instantly recognizable. I turned my head towards the source of the sound and then I watched, almost with dumb fascination as a butterfly began pulled itself out from the coffin of its former life. Beautiful, resplendent, in hues of violet blue so deep it seemed pierce the dark (but slowly brightening) morning sky. Its scalloped hind-wings were dotted with vibrant reds and yellows and oranges that reminded me of the lantana flowers they love so much, while its fore-wings, tapering and strong, were striped with contrasting bands of silvery-white. It was, like the birth of all my butterflies, breathtakingly beautiful. The butterfly eased its way out of the casket, one delicate limb at a time, until it was completely free, poised upside down as it were, as a gravity defying ballerina. The proboscis, long and elegant began to slowly furl and unfurl. In a moment so unbelievable it seems almost surreal, the butterfly cocked its head, and I was transfixed by the insect's stare.
A single pair of compound eyes, black as pitch and faceted like a beautifully cut onyx, stared me up and down, as if judging my worth, and I could not but entertain a romantic thought where I wondered if even butterflies had souls. Slowly, but surely, its wings began to expand. Absently, almost like an after-thought, I felt a vibration by my side, but I ignored it. So transfixed was I by this minute creature that for a moment, all the time in the world seemed to slow. I noticed, almost absently, that the world was stirring about me, but my focus, the entire portion of my thoughts, were directed at the butterfly. I stared at the butterfly, and the butterfly stared back. Presently, the little insect began to stir, evidently tired of our little staring contest, and it raised a foreleg and tapped it on the surface upon which it was clinging to. Tap, tap. Like little nails drumming upon a polished hard-wood surface. tap, tap, tap. And as gradual as it took hold, the butterfly began to release its hypnotic spell upon me.
The world began to come back in bits and pieces. I noticed casually, at first, the ever-brightening sky. Then came the realization that the birds, which had began to stir from their nests high up in the trees, had started to sing, their melodic thrills punctuated only by the slightly gruff tones that emanated from the mess of comforters and pillows on the bed which in turn marked my lover's imminent arrival into the rest of this waking world. And then I felt again, that something was vibrating by my side again, only this time I realized that it must have been my phone. I picked it up and saw, a notification. It told me Dr. Andrew had sent me a message. I opened it. The first words I read... "You are all done." It took a moment for the words to sink in, but it did. I was finished, I was done. My thesis. The dissertation that I had worked so hard for the entire year had come to fruition. I felt a song, rising in my chest, and without warning, the butterfly flicked its antenna in my direction, and started to fly.