Glass Butterflies


They live in the greenhouse at the base of the cliffs. The blackened crags rise above it, glistening and wet with the spray of the sea, and the cry of the gulls fills the air. The greenhouse is abandoned, has been for as long as I can remember. No one goes there. Not anymore. No one but me.

A jungle is growing inside. Plants that don’t belong in our cold climate cling to the beams, climb up the glass, spiral around the shelves. It’s beautiful here, a garden that belongs only to me.

But I don’t come for the garden. Not anymore.

I come for the butterflies.

They live in the glass, feed on the flowers and the nectar, flitting from one plant to the next. I feed them now, when the flowers don’t bloom because the sun hasn’t shown its face in too many weeks. No one else does. No one else would.

They know me now. I can hear them fluttering against the walls of the greenhouse when I come near, their glass wings tinkling against the panes. I slip inside as quickly as I can, but a few get out, and they shatter on the stones. Glass butterflies. I cut my feet sometimes, on the shards they leave behind.

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