#9 Large Blue

by Janet Caplan

“Surely you see the ballet dancer . . . strong arms extended upwards. He’s thrashing through the water, attempting to free himself.”

Sybil glanced at Alice and looked back at the painting.

“Well, you’re entitled to your opinion dear, but that’s not at all what I see. No Alice, this is a butterfly in the throes of death, gasping for air or whatever a butterfly might do at its end. Poor thing, its wings are simply collapsing ‘round it.”

“You sound absolute on this Sybil. And you never do. Why so sure? It’s open to interpretation, isn’t it?”

The white-haired women, dressed in their sensible pant suits and walking shoes continued to stare at the painting. They’d intended this to be the first stop on their day long gallery tour but thus far, hadn’t been able to tear themselves away from this particular piece.

“This butterfly, Alice, is a Large Blue. I grew up surrounded by them. You see, my father was a collector, a lepidopterist. The walls of his study in our home in the north of England were lined with display cabinets housing his collections. Large Blues were rare and prized even then. I studied them as a child, captivated by their colour, their markings. It struck me as terribly cruel to kill these wild, beautiful creatures and then to pin them into a box. It’s something one doesn’t forget Alice. You are correct; I’m not certain about much in this world, but this I know.”

Sybil turned and walked tearfully away.

4 comments:

Sam Knight said...

Nice job showing how sensory input effects different people in different ways.

Shona Snowden said...

Love the debate.

Daren Despot said...

It's a great way to showcase the abstract nature of the prompt. And you did a wonderful job weaving an intriguing backstory in to the dialogue.

JRVogt said...

Good contrast in this, how one person can see beauty while another sees pain.