I was at my aunt’s house. My parents left me there because they had to look after grandmother. “Grandmother is very sick,” they said. They had to be at her side at the hospital. I argued I could look after myself, but they said “no, you’re too young, you don’t even know how to cook and wash your clothes,” and all that stuff. I was so mad, I didn’t want to go to my aunt’s house. She lives alone, and has too many cats, and why couldn’t she look after grandmother? Well, they said, “you know how your aunt has social anxiety and everything. She gets really uncomfortable going outside and meeting new people.” I sulked inside my room the whole day. My mom packed my clothes for me. I frowned all the way to my aunt’s house. We arrived there at noon. My aunt is sweet and everything, but again, I just didn’t like being around so many cats.
That night, while watching television, documentaries after documentaries about animals – sharks, then meerkats, then hedgehogs, etc., I wished I wouldn’t have to stay a long time at that house. The cats were pampered and they walked all over the place, on the tables and counters and chairs. At least they were trained by my aunt so they wouldn’t pee and stuff inside. Have you ever smelled cat pee? It’s the worst smell ever. Well, anyway, after hours of the show, my vision started to turn fuzzy. My aunt smiled and in her really soft voice, said that maybe I want to go to sleep. I wanted to argue and say, no I can still watch all these stuff, but she was right. So I walked to the room prepared for me, and went to sleep.
I dreamt about butterflies. I was alone in a field and it was very bright. There were so many of them, of different sizes and colors. Blue ones, red ones, yellow ones, orange ones. Some were even multi-colored with different and unique patterns of swirls and polka dots and everything. I ran and some of them followed me. I felt so light, like I had a different body, so I tried to jump. I jumped so high in slow-motion, like in those old black and white movies of astronauts on the moon. I jumped, and the rainbow of butterflies just followed me everywhere. After a while, I felt tired, so I sat down. The butterflies were gone and I must have been so busy playing I did notice it was already sunset. You know those moments in a dream when you realize you’re actually dreaming? It was something like that. As I sat there, I recalled my grandmother. When I was small, we used to visit her in her old house. Whenever I think of that house, I always remember two things – the big clock that would chime very loudly, and this huge framed collection of preserved butterflies. These were all in the living room. I remember looking at all those dead butterflies, their wings so colorful, while being held by my grandmother. This was years before she started getting sick and they had to move her to a home.
I remember my grandmother telling me stories about the war, about my grandfather who was a soldier in the war. She said he was very brave and it was a shame I didn’t meet him when he was still alive. It was all too boring to me.
So while sitting there, I saw this single butterfly land on my toe. Somehow I am always barefoot in my dreams. It was not the prettiest butterfly, in fact, it was kinda boring-looking. It was small and faded-yellow in color. But this butterfly caught my attention. I stared as it flapped its wings slowly, flew everywhere and around me, went in circles around me as I walked.
Cats have this stereotype of being calm and silent animals who just sleep all day. This is not true. That day I was woken up by a loud screeching sound. Angry cats hiss and screech and emit all sorts of shrieks when they fight. I stared at the ceiling and was surprised at first. I thought, hey this doesn’t look like my ceiling. That’s when I realized I was actually in my aunt’s house, so anyway, there it was, I saw it, I couldn’t believe it. The faded-yellow butterfly was there. It was on the top of the bedpost to my right, the one above my head. Just then, I heard a knocking, it was more like a tapping really. While my aunt knocked, I watched as the butterfly slowly flew towards and out of the window. I stood up, opened the door, and there was my aunt in tears stroking a sleeping orange cat. She said she has something important to tell me.