#111 No Butterflies

by Andrew Stancek

The Monarch butterflies know. They’re prettier than a rainbow and real smart. Last year I stood with Dad in a field of milkweed and when they sat on our heads, we laughed.

At Christmas Mom threw a teapot at Dad and he was gonna hit her but drove away instead. Since then I wake up at night when the truck door slams and Dad’s gone. Mom is puffy-eyed when she gives us oatmeal in the morning and yells: “Move it. I can’t drive you to school.” Before Louie cries, I grab his coat and we run to make the bus.

So the night Dad takes me and Louie out to Chicken DeeLight I know something’s up. We only eat out Saturdays and this is Tuesday, and Mom stays home. Louie is five and loves chicken fingers better than anything in the world, other than Dad. When Dad says we’ll always be his beetle-bugs but he got a job across the state and won’t be living with us nomore, Louie yells, “Can’t I go live with you, Dad?” and starts bawling.

I want that too, but all the guys I know live with moms. Dad says it’s too far. He even takes Scrunch, my dog. Mom says it’s ‘cause she can’t afford to feed no mutt.

I only cry when Louie is asleep.

We used to get a ton of Monarchs. This year no Dad, no Scrunch and no butterflies. I don’t blame the butterflies. I wouldn’t come either.

5 comments:

strugglingwriter said...

Well done. I particularly love the last line. "This year no Dad, no Scrunch and no butterflies. I don’t blame the butterflies. I wouldn’t come either."

Paul

Bruce Roush said...

Good story-sad but with that little undercurrent of humor. That last line is great!

Mark Budman said...

A great and subtle way of presenting the anguish of children. Love it.

Flutterby said...

Such painful poignancy. You make the reader feel the ache of loss and longing. I agree on the last line.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Mom's anger and Dad's abandonment plus the older child's need to take care of his brother in one short piece. Well done.