The Monarch Butterfly

by Kendra Schmeling

The day was gray and dark. Although every day seems gray and dark after your parents were killed in a car crash. My uncle stopped the car at the grave yard where my parents had been buried only three days before.

"Do you want me to come with you?" My uncle asked me. I shook my head slightly.

"No," Was my only answer. I opened the car door and stepped out into the open. A cold breeze blew through my shirt but I didn't feel the biting cold it brought. Slowly I walked up the hill and passed what seemed like thousands of other graves.

When I reached two certain headstones I stopped. I looked down at both of them without really seeing. Bella Knight 1961-2010 that was my mother the second headstone said Daniel Knight 1959-2010.

Both of my parents had been killed during the same car crash, but I was alive. But now I'm alone. I remembered every detail of the car crash and I couldn't stop reliving the moment, and I didn't want to.

Five days earlier

The car came to a halt at the stop sign and I put my book down and listened to my parent's conversation.

"I'm just saying that we should take a vacation," My mother explained. My father wasn't listening to her; instead he was watching the road with the intensity of a hawk. "Daniel, are you even listening to me?" My mother questioned.

"Yes, dear," Was my father's short reply.

"Really?" My mother asked in frustration, "Then what did I just say?" My father didn't answer her. "Daniel!"

"I'm sorry dear but I have to focus on driving," My father protested.

"Oh so your driving is more important than me?" My mother demanded. My father took his eyes off the road and looked at her.

"I didn't say that," My father explained softly trying to calm her down, "But I need to focus on driving right now," While my parents were talking I noticed that there had been multiple chances when my father could have continued driving. I looked back and saw that a line of cars had started to form behind us.

"Uh dad," I tried to interrupt him but neither of them were listening to me. Finally one of the cars behind us honked its horn and my dad looked back.

"Look, honey, can we continue this later?" My dad asked my mom kindly.

"You always say that we'll continue this later but you never do," My mother complained. My father sighed slightly. The car horn beeped again and this time it was shortly followed by a voice.

"Hey get moving!" A rough voice called. In a hurry my father pressed down on the gas pedal and headed out into the street. At the same time another car had been coming from a different direction, and it was going fast.

I heard the tires squeal as my father hit the breaks. The car came to a halt, but stopping had been the mistake. In an attempt not to crash into us the approaching car had swerved so it would have passed behind us.

But instead the two cars collided. Everything that happened next only took a few seconds. I could hear the crushing sound of metal against metal and the whole car flew to the side. It did a complete circle in mid air and then crashed the ground with a thud.

The car landed upside down and I could feel all the lightheadedness that being upside down brought. The windows were shattered and the top of the car was crushed. I couldn't see my parents through the mess. Fear gripped at my heart as I realized what had just happened.

I tried getting up but I couldn't move. I was pinned against the seat by the seat belt that is supposed to protect you in a car crash. I couldn't unlock the seat belt. I wanted to scream but I couldn't find my voice. All I could do was wait.

It might have taken minutes or maybe hours for someone to show up, but it felt like a lifetime to me. When I was pulled out of the car I learned that both of my parents had been killed instantly.

The oncoming car had collided with the front. The whole front part of the car had been crushed in completely. And I had gotten out of the mess with only a few cuts and bruises.

Back to the present

I hadn't cried then, not when I learned that both of my parents were dead. And I hadn't cried at all afterwards. But as I stood here now I couldn't stop the flow of tears that washed over my eyelids. I stood there for a long time and just cried.

Finally I couldn't cry anymore. Wiping the moisture off of my cheeks I turned back to my uncle's car. Right before I opened the door and got back in, I looked back. I could see the headstones clearly from where I was standing.

Sitting on my mother's headstone was a monarch butterfly. It just sat there content in whatever it was doing. For some reason I felt that the butterfly was a sign. Then the butterfly spread its wings and flew off on the breeze.

I saw that the sky had cleared up a little and the day looked brighter. I opened the car door and got inside. As my uncle drove away I looked back at the graveyard.

"Is there something special about a monarch butterfly?" I asked my uncle still looking out the window.

"Well there's an old legend that says that the spirits of the deceased who have led good and peaceful lives come back as monarch butterflies," My uncle explained. "That's why they're so beautiful, because they bring the person's soul to the outside instead of hiding it on the inside," I nodded slightly. I looked up into the sky and saw the monarch butterfly floating along up by the clouds. I smiled to myself, the butterfly truly was beautiful.

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