Patches of sunlight dance at her feet, and on the pavement she stands on as the branches above her sway with the summer breeze. She looks up and sees a brown butterfly hovering closely above her, its paper-like wings glinting with the jagged rays emanating from the tiny spaces between the camachile leaves above them. She holds her hand up
and watches it perch momentarily on her rosy little fingers before it flutters off towards the black sedan across the street, towards the man standing by the door of the passenger seat. Slowly, the man turns around and he looks back at her with eyes like her own.
He traces his fingers on the ruddy cheeks of the young girl in the photo he is holding. Her long, wavy hair is adorned with a crown of angels breath as she smiles proudly in her white, holy communion dress. Tears fill his eyes as he watches her gaze back with eyes like his own.
He looks out the window and sees the playground across the street, the lonely landscape of empty wooden swings and iron seesaws with its orange and yellow paint chipping off. He remembers his last afternoon under the shade of the camachile trees.
She grins ecstatically as she points up her rosy little finger to the brown insect with paper-like wings hovering above them under the shade of the camachile trees. “Mama paid us a visit!” She looks up at him with a toothy smile. He chuckles and gives her a peck on the forehead. “Hay nako anak.” He sighs, seeing his eyes in his wife’s heart-shaped face looking back at him. She turns her gaze back on the brown butterfly heading towards the wooden swings and the seesaws. She quickly puts on her yellow flip flops and runs after it.
He neatly folds the red-and-white picnic spread and follows the giggling child trailing behind the brown butterfly.
She runs past the wooden swings and the iron seesaws, skipping as high as she could to reach the tips of its brown, freckled wings.
“Mama, wait for me!”
She calls out as she follows it to the middle of the road, oblivious of the speeding car fast approaching towards her.
“Take care of the house.”
He gives his keys to the house to a stout old lady with graying hair tied in a loose bun. After giving her a hug and a peck on the cheek, he signals to the driver inside the black sedan and gets into the passenger seat.
As he reaches for the cold, black handle of the door, something makes him want to turn around. Under the shade of the camachile tree across the street, he sees a brown butterfly. Its freckled, paper-like wings glinting in the jagged rays of sunlight emanating from the spaces between the leaves.
Andrea Galinato is a MassCom graduate at Ateneo de Davao University. Currently, she’s pursuing her MA in Creative Writing at UP Diliman.