The Butterfly

When paper meets pen, the potential and possibilities are limitless. The power of a single pen explores the boundless capabilities of my curiosity, as I write big ideas on little pieces of paper. These ideas are often my version of the truth, of how life works, but never have I truly encountered the truth. The people around me, my friends and family members, have often told what I presume is the truth, but I have no way to truly confirm that it is the truth. Can I read their minds? Is there more to their words? There are too many deceitful people in the world, even those with masks bejeweled with the sweetest of chocolates. Indeed, I have no way of knowing, and this endless struggle is how we, humans spend our lives. Between the letters of the word truth, if you take a moment to focus or perhaps, look with a microscope, you can evidently see the words “lies” scrambled through in the most miniature of fonts. And, one must question what is hidden behind even that, but to question so would only lead to our despair, our misery, where all information begins to seem false, and we begin to doubt ourselves. This has become our reality. Truth is an utterly inaccessible, enigmatic entity, a vague, however beautiful butterfly that we seek, one that flies farther the closer we get. If we were to capture this butterfly, there would be absolutely no guarantee that this butterfly would be covered in the brightest of shades, rather than a murky dark color.

“Ginger beer,” the young girl had cried the name of the alcoholic beverage as she walked into my house on Monday evening. She dressed in a slovenly fashion; her tie-dyed shirt barely covered her torso. Evidently, she drank her second beer in a coca cola can, for her words were slurred. She drank often to find relief from her sorrows, forcing herself to steal the liquor that would go unnoticed by her parents. Not that they cared with their hectic schedules. Following that, she leaned onto my desk in my room, apparently trying to stop herself from falling, “Was she telling the truth? Jamie said she wasn’t going to tell everyone at school though! I don’t want everyone to know-“ She hiccuped in between wails. “Did she tell you anything?” the young girl burbled on while scowling with frustration, glancing at her scars. She was scared, fearful that everyone would find out about her boundless secrets. She wished that she could wake up with amnesia, and stop stressing and questioning everything around her constantly. Her name was Jasmine, and this girl was my best friend.

She was in a repeat mode, one of contained misery and forced appearances of contentment. She was there, but she wasn’t really. As she faced the thoughts of her day ahead, she’d be thinking ahead to the end of the day where she could rest her head on her pillow and sink into her subconscious, her escape. She was one of those people, the kind that analyze everything too much and the kind that care too much, always seeking for the truth, distrusting whether the person talking to them was actually being honest. It was quite hysterical that she was searching for the truth in everyone when she was a liar, telling everyone that she lived in one of those enormous mansions, and that she had a boyfriend, but I would never say such things out loud to her. Seeking the truth was perhaps, worse than a disease, one without a cure. The truth is whatever we believe is the truth, and that is where the struggle should end, but it never did, never for her, never for the most of us. On an everyday basis, she would get frustrated at me, releasing all her tension and I never protested. She failed to master her emotions, and push away those unwanted feelings, and that was her most prominent flaw. Everything about her began faltering, shredding to little pieces and morphing into a small black seed. That seed grew into shackles that chained her to the distraught and self-wrecking lifestyle that she was living. If you were an outsider, someone who wasn’t as close to she as I was, you would never know that she was like this, and that she took everything personally, questioning everything. Jasmine was just like anyone else, pretending to be someone else, but really an entirely different individual. We have all had these thoughts, unsure of what the truth was and what the lie was. In one circumstance, we all want to know what the truth is, whether the other person is truly telling the truth, and in another situation, we wish to hide the truth, an obstacle in our path, one that we want no one else to discover in risk of tarnishing our immaculate reputations. She was the perfect embodiment of all mankind. It was as if truth was an innocent child, playing a game of hide and seek, hiding from the unpleasant, sinful monsters, or in other words, us.

 Tuesday afternoon, agitation trickled through Jasmine’s veins as she awkwardly strolled out of Rose Mary High School; oblivious to the peculiar looks she received. Here she was, staring blankly at a dirt road speckled with crystal raindrops. They splattered across the windshield of her car like a can of paint across a canvas. Gradually, she climbed into the driver’s seat; the worn out interior showed hints of discoloration. She felt miserable, bringing forth cries that refused to hold back. The trail of tears stained her pale, lifeless cheeks. She knew she shouldn’t have trusted anyone, even her best friend, Jamie. Rapidly, she ran her hands through her hair, knowing that just hours ago Jamie had in fact told the entire school that Jasmine had lied to everyone about her life, about where she lived, about her dreamy yet imaginary boyfriend, and that she should never be trusted again. After climbing high on the ladder of life, taking all the wrong steps, she realized, upon tumbling, that she had been climbing the wrong ladder the entire time, the ladder of flawlessness, with each step epitomizing her various lies. While she thought demons had overtaken the mind and the soul of those around her, and that everyone around her was not worth trusting, she had been the demon the entire time, the one doing all the lying. The one that no one could trust. But Jamie had been right, and Jamie and I were the only ones that knew she wasn’t rich, that she didn’t have a boyfriend or a proper family, and that she was never really part of all the sports she had named. It was all for attention, for appreciation. Jasmine had told all of us at school, during lunch, with a throng of bubbly girls gathering around the table that she lived in one those big Beverly mansions, and that she was rich. We had believed her. We had no way of knowing that she was lying, and we had never thought so much about it, until recently. Friends were naturally supposed to tell one another the truth, but in all honesty, we never would have given her all the attention if she was just another ordinary new girl. Still, were all the rumours that had been said about Jasmine the entire truth? Was there more to it, or less to it, and who could I believe? What was the truth, I questioned myself.

Sadistically enough, it was not Jamie, but rather me, who had told everyone.  Jamie was just a particularly easy target to point at, a pawn in my game. After all, she was the girl you could go to for all the gossip. Jasmine was a liar, and I had to tell everyone! I never told Jasmine that I was the one that had told everyone, and I made sure she wouldn’t talk to Jamie about it.  Jasmine was too cooped up in her own thoughts, her misery, and she had changed schools the day after the incident. For a mere moment, I felt guilty, but the odd feeling in my heart disappeared upon thinking about her lies. Still, she was my friend and I told the truth for her own benefit, so that she would realize that lying was no good. Telling her about my actions would only make the situation more chaotic and complex than it really was, and this too was no good.

Only I was aware that behind Jamie’s tough exterior was a sweet, acquitted girl who would never do anything to hurt her friends. Nevertheless, the truth about herself that she had showed was inevitably, the version of her that everyone saw, and the compassionate, quiet girl that I had portrayed to be, was how everyone saw me. The truth was what people saw, what they observed, and thankfully, they weren’t aware of the thoughts, the truth in my mind. Our lives weren’t a movie, nobody was holding a camera to our face, recording all our actions, and without a snapshot of reality, nobody really knew what was going on in our world. There were no facts, and even the facts could be altered by those astute.

Unlike Jamie, who I’m sure had secrets of her own; Jasmine was an entirely different story. She was a liar, and a brilliant one at that, and all her lies deserved to be revealed. I was never sure of the reason for her lies, but it had should not have mattered. She was feeding everyone around her lies about how perfect her life was, and in taking in these lies, we were composed entirely of lies. We had practically been her guinea pigs the entire time, the ones she could test her newest lies on, and determine whether they worked. I refused to be fooled by her charm, her façade of innocence, and by all the times that she had cried, as if she was truly human. In fact, she was human, but the kind that was free of feelings, of a moral conscience, and I was the kind that knew that everyone had to find out the truth, the kind that did humanity justice.

Nobody would be able to find out what I had done; after all, truth was a butterfly flying farther and farther away, as footsteps came closer, and I had personally taken on the task of assuring so. It was as if the butterfly of truth was no longer living, and I was pulling it by a string attached to its wing, while people foolishly chased the butterfly. The most magical of facts about this butterfly is that as one touches the ever-beautiful butterfly, it disappears and falls into broken pieces. That one person is the only person who has encountered the truth, until the truth disappears. There is no assurance that when the individual blabbers to their friends, the truth that they are gossiping about is really the truth. We fail to trust one another, once again, questioning everyone and every phrase spoken around us. Still, I was continuously carrying the dead weight of the butterfly around, and at that point in my life, I had found pleasure in doing so, that is building a web of lies, controlling the world around me. After all, I held the butterfly in my hands. When I had told everyone about Jasmine’s lies, I had failed to realize that the butterfly had previously laid eggs, created more of its own kind, and its offspring would, in the long run, carry the truth to all the other girls at school. In grasping so, I became a nervous wreck, already planning my next lie to her, while the world proceeded to pursue the truth.

Source: Featured

Written By
More from Fatima Saleem

1 day, 24 hours, 1140 minutes, 86400 seconds

At this confusing, yet fascinating stage of our lives, we fail to...
Read More