Pride. It goes before the fall. We were sitting outside at the time, up on the terrace basking in the sunshine that was just starting to recede. I never believed in love at first sight, probably because I hadn't met him yet. From the moment I laid eyes on him there was a connection, he wasn't my type, that's what I told myself. I didn't want to like him, I didn't like him, I hated him. Despised the way he made me feel, I found myself crying after our encounters, not totally understanding why he made me feel inadequate. A friend of his told me that he saved the card I had written him. I've always loved dragonflies, far more than butterflies, but they are more elusive, so it was with that sense of pride welling up in me when I spotted the perfect card for him. I didn't write much inside of it, I sketched a quick picture in black ink, and left it for him to find, preferring that to the dread of seeing disappointment in his eyes again.
I don't know what changed, I only know that the situation did. Whether it was him, me, or a combined effort born of a desire to get to a happier place than we had been previously, I couldn't say. They say that food is the way to a man's heart, but he rejected my apologetic efforts. We were on our way out, a coincidence that we were in the same place at the same time. When we were having trouble getting along I had talked to someone else about the situation, needing another perspective, startled when his advice was to kiss him. There was no way I could do that I thought to myself. He can hardly stand sharing space or being in the same room with me. There's a silence between two people that is comfortable, we didn't have that. Every moment we spent together felt tense; I was waiting for him to tell me the ways I had failed, who knows what he thought I was going to do to further batter his ego. Pride made me lash out, and I'm sorry I treated him that way.
The other day I was cleaning when I found the corpse. He came up behind me, peered over my shoulder at the body, and we shared a moment as we observed the still body of the lifeless butterfly that I had discovered. Neither of us said a word, it was as if we knew we had to commemorate the beauty that had formerly flown hither and yon. Finally he handed me something, to my surprise it was the envelope I had given to him earlier. Before then I hadn't known it existed, believing it to have been the first thing he tossed into the recycling container. Melting sunshine sent longer, darker red rays into the space we were sharing. With great care he slid the envelope beneath the butterfly, carried it outside, and excavated a burial space beneath the tree that bore scarlet berries in winter. Months went by, but eventually it was summer again. I was daydreaming near the window when came up to me, standing closer than he ever had previously.
Turning slightly, I could see what he had; a dragonfly buzzing near the lilies the landscapers had planted. Before I could say anything he pointed beyond that, to the butterflies that were tumbling playfully through the sultry humid air. Inside the air conditioner was humming, but outside the sounds of nature and summer were loud enough for anyone who cared to listen. It was then that I apologized. Whatever I said, it wasn't rehearsed, just words that fell out of my mouth while he was standing near me. A quivering moment passed before his face changed. It wasn't a smile exactly, but it was close. He said that he hadn't noticed me being on edge that day, and this time, instead of arguing, I let him win. They say it is better to give then to receive, but I wonder if when it comes to forgiveness, pride can be set aside and the angry bitterness that led to butterfly ashes behind a slammed door can start to soften and open even the hardest of hearts.