Saturday, August 2, 2014

Short fiction exercise: Go Figure

This is a short fiction piece I wrote; the prompt was just to write a piece that had something to do with a butterfly. Enjoy!


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Go Figure

It’s amazing what can happen because of a butterfly. Doesn’t Chaos Theory say something like that? I don’t know, doesn’t matter, the point is, it all started with a butterfly. Go figure.
The only exercise I really get these days comes from walking. I can’t afford a gym, and I’m not sure I’d go to one if I could—all those people looking at you, ugh. I just can’t face that. But walking can get boring unless you mix it up, and if I’m bored, I plain won’t do it. On that particular day, I started feeling bored about halfway through, and to top things off, my iPod died. So I was facing thirty minutes with nothing to distract me from the fact I was exercising, and my brain wasn’t really up for that.
I was trying to come up with some game I could play to keep my mind busy, when a monarch butterfly flew across my path. They aren’t rare or anything, you can see ‘em all the time if you know where to look. It just seemed like perfect timing is all, so when it flew around the corner I figured hey why not—I’ll follow it. 
She flitted around the way butterflies do—backtracking, going in circles, then jumping far forward—so I had to really focus to keep up with her, and I probably looked like a crazy person changing direction all the time. But you know, random movements are supposed to fool your muscles, or something like that. At least that’s what they’re saying today.
So I was watching her hard, and after a while when she decided to set herself down for a minute, I looked around while I walked in place. Wouldn’t you know it, I was on a street I’ve never seen before, no idea how we got there. I’m not one of those people that make, what are they called, mental maps? I used to get lost in the building where I worked, no lie. So it probably wasn’t too smart of me to follow a butterfly, truth be told.
The street wasn’t anything special, but just around the corner I caught a glimpse of that pretty woodwork you seen on Victorian houses, what’s it called, corbels? Spandrils? I don’t know. But there it was, in these whimsical colors, navy blue and mint green, with bits of coral here and there. I couldn’t help myself, I have such a weakness for that sort of thing, so I went around the corner to see the rest of it.
It was so charming, covered with all sorts of gables and little porches and it even had a circular stained glass window. It wasn’t huge or anything, and it wasn’t restored perfectly, but it was the kind of house that just makes you happy to look at, you know? So I pulled out my phone to take a picture of it. As I was trying to figure out how to make it look the other way (why do I want a picture of myself anyway, I know what I look like!), I heard someone call my name.
I looked up, and there was a woman at the door. She looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t place her.
“Maggie, it’s Deanna. Don’t you recognize me?”
Well, I’ll tell you, you coulda knocked me over with a feather. Deanna and I had been best friends way back up until the fourth grade, years and years ago. We did everything together, shared all our secrets. She was always there for me when my mother would have one of her ‘episodes’, and I showed up at her house crying. She’d hug me and let me cry it out, never asked questions I didn’t want to answer. And then she’d find some way to take my mind off of it all. It near broke my heart when she moved away; in those days we didn’t have Facebook or Twitter or My-gram or whatever those all are. We didn’t even have e-mail. I felt like I’d lost a piece of myself, and although we wrote letters, both of us moved around so much after that, we eventually lost touch.
I ran up to her, and we gave each other the biggest hug, tears streaming down both our faces. I guess I don’t mind telling you, I’ve been lonely since my daughter died. Not a lot of people stick with you through something like that; cancer is a horrible way to go, and it took all my energy trying to help her beat it. I just didn’t have time to keep up with my friendships, I guess.
We talked for two hours, catching up on everything in our lives. She had three girls, and one of them has passed too, can you imagine? Talk about knowing what someone is going through. We talked and we cried and we laughed, and I swear, it was like we never left each other’s side.
I had to leave because of my doctor’s appointment, but she’s coming to visit tomorrow. Isn’t it amazing how these things happen? I don’t know how it works, or why, but I’ll tell you this. When I left, that butterfly was perched right up on her fencepost.
Go figure.


© Michelle M. Chouinard 2014 All rights reserved.

44 comments:

  1. hi michelle, this is beautiful! i always feel monarch butterflies are magical, because they'd migrate 1000 miles back to the same tree - i heard =)

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    1. I didn't know that! That's really neat. :)

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  2. Oh I love the butterfly reference. You're right, so many people think that butterflies symbolize something. I love how you finished this. :)

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    1. Thanks so much. I really wanted the reader to leave the piece with a smile on her face. :)

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  3. I love everything about this post. Everything. I love the butterfly's part in this story. I'm so glad you reconnected with a long lost friend on such an emotional level!

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    1. Oh, it's a fictional piece. But thank you! :)

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  4. It's always nice to rekindle a friendship! Even after long hurts or distant has put a strain on the relationship. Good for you!

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    1. It's a fictional piece, so it's not real. But I'm glad it felt real! :)

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  5. Very articulate piece. Beautiful imagery.

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    1. Thank you so much! It was fun to write. I had no idea where I was going to go with it when I first started. :)

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  6. Reconnecting is the best feeling. Lovely post!

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

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  7. Beautiful story. :) I wish I knew how to write better!

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    1. Oh hush! I've read your blog and you write beautifully! You just write non-fiction is all. I bet you'd be great at fiction, too. :)

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  8. Agreed, such a beautiful story. :)

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    1. Thank you! Now I'm wishing I'd put purple in there somewhere...;-)

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  9. I love your writing! So inspiring. I hope to read more like this!! Thanks for sharing!

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  10. I love the opening. It's such a great attention grabber and had me contemplating immediately!

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    1. Thank you so much! I've been told that the first sentence (maybe two) is the most important, so I've been trying to focus on that...:)

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  11. I love this - great job my dear! I love that you were able to come up with such a sweet, inspiring story just with the butterfly prompt. Beautiful writing! xoxo

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    1. Thank you so much! That's one of the things I love about doing writing prompts. I'm always surprised by what ends up coming out. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good, lol. :)

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  12. Very great work here. You should definitely pursue fiction if you don't already.

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    1. That makes my day. It's hard to know sometimes if I'll ever write anything anyone wants to read, lol. :)

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  13. Wonderful, charming and thoughtful. A great piece of prose.

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    1. Thank you so much. I really appreciate that!

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  14. What a beautifully written piece! It definitely felt so real and what's even better? I could relate, like everyone else! That's the best part of writing! Can't wait to read more by you! <3

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    1. Thank you so much!! I was really trying to go for an 'every woman' sort of voice (with maybe a slightly eccentric edge, lol), so it's great to hear that! <3

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  15. I realised as I got to the end of this short story, my food had been hovering in front of my mouth still on the fork. I was so captivated I didn't eat haha.

    Beautiful story. I actually was going to comment and ask if this was a true story (until I scrolled to the top and saw 'fictional') it's so believable!

    Katie <3

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    1. What an awesome compliment, thank you! I know it takes an awful lot to make me forget my food, lol! :) <3

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  16. Isn't funny how things happen? I too just managed of reconnect with a friend have not seen in over 10 years. I love butterflies x

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    1. That's awesome! It sad to lose track of a friend, and wonderful to find them again. :)

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  17. What a great story! I really enjoyed the way it was written - it was like talking to a friend ;) Looking forward to more of your work ;)

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    1. Thank you so much, that's just what I was going for. I wanted it to be like something a work friend would tell you over coffee in the break room, something like that. Thank you thank you!

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  18. Such a great story. Thanks for writing and sharing!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading it. :)

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  19. This is so beautiful! I love the way it was written, it seemed almost like a monologue!

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    1. Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked it. :) <3

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  20. I love this post it was so beautiful written :-)

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    1. Thank you so much, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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  21. You're a really good writer! I hope you continue writing!

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    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement, I really appreciate it!!

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