The House of the Butterfly

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The House of the Butterfly

Once upon a time there was a prince who won over the heart of a shy butterfly princess. Her mother, Martha, promised that one day, Renee would grow up and marry a prince. Flash forward, and Renee is now a beautiful bride, standing beside her husband, Mariano. He is exactly like the prince she dreamt about, only sloppier.
Flash forward again, Renee is pregnant, crying over the phone seeking counsel from Martha on the state of her marriage. He is never home and always stinks of liquor. Martha promises it is a phase and encourages her daughter to wait it out for the baby. Renee distracts herself by working on the nursery. Hidden at the bottom of their moving boxes are her old toys, including the prince. Renee sits by the window, hands on her belly, and fixes the wing of a butterfly mobile.
Mariano comes home and won’t even look at her. She snaps, he breaks into hysterics, begging forgiveness, and crying into her belly. She asks, “Are you ever going to change?”, and without hesitation, he replies with a firm, “Why should I?” Renee runs out into the backyard and sees a sea of shooting stars overhead. Renee prays that her child has a better life than the one she is living.
Renee is transported into a dreamland where she watches the story of her life play out in tableaus, frozen on a music box. Her mother clips her butterfly wings and handcuffs her to the beautiful prince she dreamt. Only now, she knows the true nature of a prince and doesn’t need him to be happy! The next time we see Renee, she is sitting in her husband’s car driving as far as the road lets her.

by Rupali Ingle (USA)

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