To Catch a Butterfly

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Ella lit the burner beneath the red kettle which sat poised on the stove top, ready for the after dinner tea that she always made her mother and herself. The oven was only a short stretch from the sink which was filling up and Ella was able to reach and push the arm of the tap down without too much effort. She gently placed the plates with their faded floral pattern and silver cutlery stained with food and age into the sink. It had been a long day, and she was looking forward to putting her mother to bed shortly and getting on to marking the assignments of her grade 9 students. Lost in these thoughts, Ella noticed a stray lettuce leaf that she mustn’t have scraped off one of the plates. The limp green leaf lay still and lifeless, buoyant in the sink of suds. Ella felt the blood drain from her face and a film of sweat coating her. The leaf, dead, still, floating took on the form of Billy. Still but for her right hand reaching into the pocket of her apron, Ella stared at the lettuce leaf and felt for her rosary, chanting the familiar prayers, hoping to push away the thoughts of Billy, her little brother. The kettle let out a desperate scream making Ella jump from the piercing sound reminiscent of an ambulance approaching. Continue reading