The Butterfly on the Wall

By Austin B. Hahn

There was no Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or Prince Charming, but there was Louvina. She owned a small cottage up on a hill where the sun shined every day of the summer. The sunbeams blazed through the long contemporary windows, warming her home. Louvina loved the house that she lived in. The establishment was bought by her grandmother, who moved up on the hill, when her husband, Frank, passed away from pancreatic cancer. The mansion had grandiose stairs, crystal chandeliers, sleek wooden floors, and marble countertops. She spent the weekends cleaning the house or relaxing in her lounge chair while reading Cosmopolitan under the sun on her warm oak wood patio. Louvina dedicated her personal and professional life to being a cake designer and helping children at orphanages. In the downhill neighborhood, everyone thought that the heiress was arrogant, pretentious, and smug. People were jealous of her luxurious lifestyle. From Gucci Couture to Chanel, you name it, she owned it. Her shoes were YSL. Her bag was Dior, and she’d leave every man wanting more. In spite of Louvina’s financial status and elegant charm, she often found herself caught up in the distraction of doing menial tasks around the house.

One early morning, while decorating a three-layered cake with white frosting designs, Louvina noticed something out of the corner of her eye as the sheer curtains blew in the breeze. She swiftly turned as a butterfly came soaring through the room. It glided over her head and landed on the edge of the second layer of the cake.

“AAHHHHH!” she screamed, “What the heck is that thing? Where did I put the bug spray?” Louvina looked for some insecticide in the kitchen. The clanging of pots and pans echoed as she searched through the cabinets; until suddenly, the phone rang. “Hello,” she answered, “Oh yes! That cake will be ready first thing Monday morning as planned,” she replied in a quivering voice. Louvina continued to search throughout the house. She ran up the stairs, looked up the chimney, peeped her head in the dryer and still couldn’t find any bug spray. After an hour, she returned to the kitchen and sat on the floor disgruntled. The butterfly remained delicately propped on the cake. While leaning against the refrigerator, she contemplated. “I know!” she perked up, “I’ll just have to ask my neighbors downhill for some.” Louvina grabbed her pink scarf and trotted out the door in her black stilettos.

Speeding down the hill in her white minivan, cutting every corner, and driving as recklessly as Lindsay Lohan, she arrived at the Dimpleton’s house in five minutes. The Dimpleton’s lived in an old suburban duplex with cracked windows and a moss covered roof top. Louvina strutted down the exposed aggregate concrete trail, sprinted up the squeaky wooden porch steps, and then gently knocked on the door with a peppy smile. The door crept open.

“Hello there . . .” an elderly woman greeted her hesitantly.     

“Hello, Mrs. Dimpleton, it’s me, Louvina. Do you remember me?” she asked frankly.

“Who dear? Oh, Silvia, is that you?” she asked.  Mrs. Dimpleton was an eighty-year-old woman who frequently forgot her own name; she even once thought the milk man was her husband and kissed him.

“No. It’s me Mrs. Dimpleton, Louvina. Don’t you remember me? I was the one who dropped off pepto bismol when you and your husband came back from that Brazilian restaurant, and you felt like you had an explosion in your pants. I mean … the Hershey bar melted in your pocket . . . I mean . . . you had an accident,” Louvina admitted.

“No . . .” Mrs. Dimpleton replied in utter perplexity.

“Well anyway, you see, you might find this kind of silly, but I was wondering if you had any bug spray?” she questioned bluntly.

“Bug spray?” Mrs. Dimpleton repeated as she cocked her head.

“Yeah. You see I was making a cake this morning when a weird bug flew in my kitchen and landed on it. I’m supposed to have it ready by Monday, but the problem is that I don’t have any insect repellent to get it off, and I don’t have the time to drive all the way out to town right now, so I was wanting to know if you happened to have some by any chance,” she spoke enthusiastically.

“Well yes as a matter of fact I do dear, but just what do you plan on doing with it? You’re not going to spray it on the cake are you?” Mrs. Dimpleton queried.

“Ha, ha, ha, ha! Oh no absolutely not! It’s for the bake sale,” Louvina snorted and giggled, “It’s a part of the fundraiser for leukemia patients at the children’s hospital,” she explained.

“Aw! Well bless your little heart dear,” Mrs. Dimpleton spoke fondly, “Now you just wait here. I will be right back.”

Mrs. Dimpleton headed to the dining room, grabbed her purse off of the coffee table, returned to the door, and took out some pepper spray from her purse. “Here you go, but be careful. This stuff is dangerous,” she said as she eyeballed Louvina.

“Oh thank you so much, but I-” she interrupted herself, realizing that it was pepper spray; however, Louvina graciously accepted it. “Of course, Mrs. Dimpleton, and thank you so much.” She strolled off to her car and drove back up the hill. When Louvina came home, the butterfly was gone. She checked the pantry, the closet, and inside the sugar jar to see if it was hiding, then a thought dawned on her: the butterfly flew out the window, and she no longer had to worry about it. She went on to finish preparing the cake for the bake sale.

As Monday morning came, she wiggled out of bed onto the white fuzzy carpet, rushed to put her clothes on, scurried down the stairs, flopped on her black flats, and called her two best friends up. They both helped lift the cake into the back of her minivan and left at nine o’clock. The bake sale went on all day and turned out to be a huge success, raising as much as six thousand dollars! Everyone loved Louvina’s cake. Many of the neighborhood moms asked for her recipe, but Louvina politely refused and told them with a euphoric smile, “Oh believe me! It took me forever to come up with this recipe, but I’ll tell you a little secret: years of experimentation can lead you to finding the perfect balance between spice and everything nice.”

The following day, as Louvina sat while eating a piece of cake on her white tile kitchen countertop, she saw the butterfly again, sitting on the window sill. The butterfly hovered through the room above her head and flew up the stairs. She followed it all the way into the guest bedroom. An old Japanese superstition states that if a butterfly enters your guestroom, the person whom you most love is coming to see you. Perhaps there would be a Prince Charming after all . . .

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