Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Change and Some Old Friends

I could talk about how a fifth grader threw a temper tantrum on me today- full out kicking, screaming, and throwing shoes towards my head. I could talk about how I marched down all ten shocked fifth graders and made them sit in the cafeteria, taking away their privledges for the first time. Or, I could amaze you with tales of how an entire kindergarten classy told me I was the meanest teacher in the world. But I won't.

For you see, I quit that job today. I didn't quit it because of the boredom, or complete lack of control. As of Wednesday next week, I will be the editor of two local magazines. This excites me and wrecks my every last nerve at the same time. The utterly important question of: "What will I wear?" has been hanging over my head for days. I feel the need to dash out to the mall and collect some more clothing to prove my sophistication. After all- if I look good, I'll do good right?

Other nonsensical things have me worried too, like continuing to write for my freelance contacts and keep working on my book(s). And obsessing over making sure I continue my stringent workout and cleaning schedule.

I was sitting on the playground today with a little girl named Cassie.* Cassie* is a shy, sweet little girl who follows me everywhere. She waves enthusiastically if I pass a room, and generally spends 4-6 hours by my side. She's never ridden a horse, though she really wants too. At first she didn't talk at all- now she can't stop talking.

We were sitting on one of the wooden tables, and Cassie was chattering about moving from Arizona. I was half listening, wondering if I should bother stopping the kids who were sliding down the slide headfirst. Darwin has a plan, after all. Suddenly, Cassie grabbed my arm!

"Look!" she pointed. "It's a butterfly! A big one!"

Sure enough, a large orange butterfly was dancing a few feet away. With the cold front, the butterflies had not been as prevalent as they were earlier. They had faded into the wind, only appearing every once in awhile in the afternoon. I think the chilly mornings were killing the flowers that supported them.

As if in answer to my question, several more butterflies appeared. They drifted around Cassie and I, as she clapped her hands in delight and smiled. One landed on my shoulder, and I felt the whisper of his fluttering wings in my ear.

"You're worrying again," the butterfly chided. "After all this time. We told you the time would come, we told you things would work out. And you still worry."

"I can't help it," I said softly. "It's such a good thing, I'm worried it'll slip away."

"We can slip away. Time can slip away. Socks in the dryer can slip away," the butterfly replied, wings beating softly. "The people and things you love can not, and will not. That's the point of love. You love to write, therefore it will stay. Some very good things are about to happen. We know this. You will too, in time."

"Where have you been?" I asked. "I've needed you. I've needed your reassurance."

"While you were talking to lizards," the butterfly tiptoed gracefully on my shoulder. "We were dancing in lush gardens and skating on dewdrops. We flutter through the stars and cool air. We bask in the warm sunshine and cool breeze. Even when you can not see us, we are always around."

The butterfly lifted delicately off my shoulder and joined the others. They danced a bit in the breeze, twirling higher and higher to avoid the reach of small grabbing hands. Then they were gone, fading into the sunlight as though they had never been there at all.

Cassie leaned her head against my arm.

"They're gone." she said sadly. "I like the butterflies."

I smiled, my eyes creasing at the side. "They'll be back," I said confidently. "They promised they would be."

The breeze blew, and I could almost hear the faint flapping of air.

"And we will."