The butterflies told her secrets. They spoke in whispers about how they had learned to fly and where their wings came from. They talked softly about the importance of flowers and how honoured they felt that it was their jobs to help keep them alive. Shivani never had to ask them questions, they volunteered the information without fuss. She spent every spare minute she had in the garden with the butterflies, and for that reason, they had learned to trust each other. “You have proven yourself trustworthy, Shivani,” their leader told her. “One day soon, you will be able to use what you have learned about the butterflies in your own world.”
The wooden chair had to be dragged from the kitchen table to the front door in short bursts. Once she was satisfied with its position, Shivani climbed on to it and adjusted herself so that she could sit upright. She placed her stuffed kitten, Nigh Nigh, in her lap and faced the front door, swinging her legs under the chair while waiting for it to open. The plan was to great her daddy with hugs and kisses the very second he opened the door. She replayed the moment over and over again: Her father opening the door and pretending not to be able to see her while she playfully bounds up to him, tugging on his uniform, pleading for him to look down so that he would finally have to acknowledge that she was there. After picking her up and swinging her around one or two times, he would hug her so tightly and make her feel so loved that she would never want him to let go.
“Delayed flight.” They were the only words Shivani’s mother repeated while on the phone and, each time she said them, she grew increasingly upset. After ending the call, her mother told Shivani that her daddy couldn’t come home tonight. Instead of getting upset, Shivani sat in her chair, staring at the door while singing and patting Nigh Nigh. Her big brother, Tyson, tried annoying her on several occasions in an attempt to get her to come and swim in the pool or ride their bikes down the street, but Shivani would not budge.
While the sun was setting, Shivani sang one of her favourite lullabies.
Butterfly, close your eyes,
Butterfly, fold your wings,
Dream sweet dreams, butterfly.
When you feel the sun warm on your face again,
You will fly.
Spread your wings, butterfly.
The instant Shivani saw shadows moving on the other side of the glass panes in the door, she turned and climbed down from her chair, accidentally knocking it over. Her mother walked over shaking her head and trying to tell Shivani that there was no-one there. Shivani wouldn’t listen, however, so her mother unlocked the door and opened it to prove her point, letting the orange glow of the sunset flood into the house. The two of them stood in the doorway staring out across the garden, unable to move. In their front yard, sat a butterfly as big as their house.
Shivani felt the breeze of the butterfly’s wings as they slowly stopped flapping, gradually coming to rest, their edges as thin as paper against the thick grass. She took a step outside and could hear its breath as it let out a soothing, deep, rumble with every exhale. In between its majestically large head and its splendidly round body sat her father, gripping tightly onto handfuls of hair on the back of the butterfly’s neck. The butterfly’s eyes followed Shivani as she ran out to the incredible sight before her. “You came home, Daddy!’ Shivani yelled. Her Daddy looked around confused as if he had lost something before sliding down the wing and on to solid ground.
“Now, where could little Shivani be?” he asked with his face creased while scratching his head. “If only she were here so that I could tell her about my most incredible journey!.”
Shivani ran over to her father and tugged on his uniform. “Down here, Daddy! I’m down here!”
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.