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By night I wish upon these skeptic stars

Only to find myself in sure defeat.

Your words are blades that leave the deepest scars.

The moon doth cry with tears of great deceit

When darkness shall cease, the sun will appear

To silence my senses with Heaven’s flame.

The only emotion living is fear.

My broken heart will never beat the same.

Sorrow is just another name for Hell.

My lonely spirit will soon die in vain.

I’ve wasted my fortune on wishing wells,

And my wishes are washed away with rain.

    

But nothing in life can last forever,

    Not even the pain of this endeavor.

 

 

 

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    Morning’s glow broke through the cracks of the old forgotten home on the hill. The light threw shadows upon a lowly boy who, for the first time in months, had woken before noon. Sleep had become more than human nature. It was his only method of staving off the outside world. Though merely a child, the boy felt the ache of his desperate bones as he crawled out of bed. Without expectation or haste, the boy made his way down the empty hallway towards the front door where too many strangers had come and gone. He reached his hand to the doorknob and hesitated for a moment or two. Finally, the door gently opened. The portrait that the morning had painted was one of breathtaking splendor. The dew upon the distant meadows delivered desirable beauty to the world, but this was the outside world where desire held no dominion over fear and pain.

    No second glance was taken, nor was any more thought given to the vast landscape before him. Hope had died some time ago, and the same journey had been made day after day. Nonetheless, today felt different to the young boy trapped in the doorway by his own mind. Staring out across the barren meadow he saw the old mill in the distance and the shimmering glass of the mill pond. Beyond the sea of yellow and green grasses, the overgrown forest of conifers stood. It was springtime in the meadow and life was starting to emerge from the forest. Flashes of color were beginning to disperse throughout the deciduous trees as far as the boy’s eyes could see. These mysteries of nature provoked a long-forgotten sense of curiosity in the boy, and with careful steps he made his descent down the familiar hill.

    The air was much calmer at the bottom of the hill, leaving the sun’s warmth untainted. The sun-soaked grass was soothing to the boy’s bare feet. He traveled with a patient pace towards the pond where the past was impossible to forget. Some lonely creature cried out in the distance, and the boy surveyed his surroundings with eager eyes only to discover a small moth carefully perched on a rotting stump in the meadow. Its fragile wings were withered from endless journeys through the wind. For a creature of such a plain countenance to be found in this place of vibrant beauty seemed both deceiving and insulting to the boy. Therefore, he took no further notice of the thing. As the boy passed the desolate stump, the moth seemed to carefully watch every movement. He continued on without any remorse for the creature that interrupted the very beauty of the meadow. Only a few seconds had gone by since the passing of that old moth, but it was in that instance that another creature caught the boy’s attention. This time it was different. Rather than quickly dismissing the appearance of this new creature, the boy stood captivated by its ocean-colored wings fluttering gently in the stillness of the air. Never before had a creature exuded so much serenity into the boy’s heavy heart. This butterfly, though in its latest stage of life, was youthful and free. Its perfect complexion accented the endless skies above. As it began to float away, the boy instantly followed. He began walking at first, but then the butterfly accelerated with a single breeze that swept through the meadow. His short legs were extending as far as he could force them now. When he was finally in close range with the butterfly again, he silently constructed a plot to capture the creature. The boy was mildly aware of his surroundings, and he knew only that he was approximately halfway between the bottom of the hill and the old mill next to the pond. With this in mind, he realized that access to any container was not an option. The butterfly could be a mile away by the time it would take him to journey back to the house or onward to the mill where a jar or box could be found. Therefore, the little boy decided he would do what any other young child would do. He would catch the butterfly with his bare hands and keep it with him forever.

    He was right behind it now. He steadied his hands just beyond his chest and waited for the butterfly to sink within reach. Without warning, the creature began to descend like an autumn leaf being separated from a tree. The boy lit up with excitement and his hands trembled with anticipation. The creature seemed to be falling right into the boy’s hands. It was just inches from reach, but suddenly it ascended back to an unreachable level. All the time this was happening, it was unknown to the boy that the old rugged moth that previously sat on the rotting stump had taken flight and was observing this event without interference. It kept its distance from the boy who continued chasing the butterfly without success. Minutes quickly turned into hours. It was now early in the afternoon, and the boy had made little progress in reaching the pond. His focus was on catching the butterfly, which seemed to only lead him in circles around the grasses and fields of wild flowers. Finally, he stopped for a moment and watched the butterfly to makes sure it did not fly too far away from him. He hadn’t realized before how hard he was breathing. As he sat upon the ground to rest, the butterfly found pleasure in landing on a tall yellow flower that reminded the boy of the bright sun that was now beaming down with greater intensity. Within a few minutes, the boy’s head was resting on the ground. He felt his eyes close before he could even interpret the sound of fluttering wings.

    The day had darkened by the time the boy’s eyes opened. He sat up quickly only to realize that the butterfly was no longer on the flower. Frantically, the boy climbed to his feet and stood staring in every direction in hopes of spotting the beautiful creature again. Wasting no time, he began running in the direction of the old mill. He was determined to find that perfect creature again. When he arrived at the south side of the mill, he noticed something mounted on the wall of the storage shed. In the dim light of the evening, he could faintly perceive the outline of the moth blending into the antiquity of the wood. The sight of this unwelcome creature only fueled the boy’s desire to find the better of the two. He hoped and prayed that the butterfly was not far from here. As he walked swiftly around to the west side of the mill near the pond, he spotted a pair of wings near the water’s edge that were as familiar as the pond itself. The boy ran faster than his deprived bones had ever let him run before. The last remaining piece of perfection in the boy’s life was seemingly lost, but now it was once again in sight and within reach. Adrenaline forced the boy towards the butterfly in a short time. He came to a stop just a few feet behind the creature. As his eagerness grew to its highest extent, he steadied his hands and leaped forward with careful aim. There in the dampness of the dirt laid the young boy with empty hands. He slowly lifted his head just in time to see the beautiful butterfly disappearing into the darkness of the forest, never to be seen again.

    The longer the boy lay there the blurrier his vision became from the tears that were now flowing down his cheeks like an April shower. Suddenly, memories of the past came rushing into the boy’s mind like a tidal wave. That cold winter night seemed so distant, but still the pain was close to home. After living alone for so long, the boy had started to get used to it. Now, however, the realization of his heart’s emptiness was as clear as the emptiness of the old abandoned mill. Everything was in ruins and hidden under layers of dust. His life seemed no different at that moment. How could something so bitterly broken ever be mended? He thought to himself. It took all of his remaining strength to pull himself to the bank of the pond and sit with his weary grass-stained feet hanging over the edge. Upon wiping the remaining tears from his eyes, he examined his reflection in the still water of the old mill pond. It was like staring at a familiar face that human hands could never touch. The boy took a moment to glance up at the sky, which was even darker now. He couldn’t see God, but he prayed anyway. The angels hadn’t come out yet, but he prayed anyway. He prayed by himself for the first time in his life. When he was finished, he took one final gaze into that familiar pond. Something was different this time. As he stared, he saw the faint reflection of that same moth that had sat on the rotting stump. It was the same moth that had watched over the boy throughout his journey. Suddenly, he remembered. He remembered the sound of his mother’s voice telling him, “Butterflies are beautiful, but moths always know where to find you. You don’t have to go chasing after them.” The old moth made its way to the boy’s left shoulder gracefully, perching itself there with great relief. In the dimming shade of the evening sky, the moth seemed to cry along with the little boy. These tears, however, were not tears of sadness. These tears were shed in celebration of the world and all the life therein. This was the outside world, and it was his for the taking.