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“To Be a Butterfly” A Short Story by Shumon Jenkins ’18

Imagine this, you sit in a room at the tender age of innocent. The door’s shut, but the window’s open. You believe this tiny space is who you are, but outside is what you want to be. Turning what you hear into what you see, making your environment into a reflection of your reality.


Right now you hear kids running around, joking and playing, ice cream trucks ringing as well as every bird under the sun. This causes your walls to be laid with pictures of cartoons, family drawings and cheesy sayings. Your TV is colorful as well as the shows you watch. Blankets and pillows are laid all over the bed and the floor. Everything is so warm and gentle and you can’t help but feel loved with it all.


As time passed however, the sounds you once heard are now more mature, so you do the same.


Loud, vulgar music replaces the soft lull of the ice cream truck. Kids are no longer kids but teens that just wanna have fun. You look at your room now, it just doesn’t fit. So like clay, you change it to fit your newest desire but still remain the same. You’ll always be you, but now you wanna be “cool.” The walls are now covered with lyrics from the music you heard and pictures of the people who say them. What you see on the TV is now about what makes you laugh, not what’s actually funny. Your room is now “cool.” No, ice cold. Like your newly found soul, because feelings don’t match this lifestyle and you are, “about that life”.


But life is always changing, especially the things you hear and what you hear now is different.


The music now isn’t about having fun, it’s about who has the most bodies. Teens die before their parents. Teens turn into parents before they become adults or kids don’t become teens at all, and go straight into being the adult. This could all be heard by you, as you listen to gunshots go off one after another. Ambulances that never make it in time or police that do. But without knowing what else to listen to, what you hear is still what you do. The once suggestive lyrics are now written in stone and that’s what you become, knowing anything else is a sign of weakness.

You keep a tally of everybody you’ve conquered and you keep a tally of every “body” you’ve “conquered.” For that is now the difference of what makes a man or at least that’s what you’ve heard.


But then suddenly it stops.


No more noise comes from the outside and you are now stuck to hear your own thoughts. You are scared at first and then become confused. For not many people tell themselves what to do. But you listen carefully, fearing nothing else to lose. Your thoughts tell you, “your perception is not your reality, only the perception of self, can be.”


Your thoughts then says, “think of a  caterpillar consuming the world around him and then engulfing himself into a cocoon.


This is you and your room.


Did what the caterpillar eat make him a caterpillar? Or did it make the cocoon?”

You struggle to understand, but your thoughts continue and says, “after enough time and growing, what does a caterpillar do?” “It becomes a butterfly” you realize, “and that’s exactly what I need to do.”


No one is born a butterfly, which is why there’s only a few. Because the difference in being a caterpillar and being a butterfly is doing what you see and seeing what you can do.


Posted by on November 3, 2017. Filed under Around Campus,The Week's End. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.