Uprooting – Butterfly Wings

Uprootinga fictional journey by Suzie Carr

Harper Ray

When I was ten years old I wanted to grow wings like a butterfly. I wanted those colorful wings to help me fly away to a pretty garden where it rained glitter and where flowers never died. I wanted to snack on powdered doughnuts and cotton candy while sitting on a red and white checkered picnic blanket under the wide umbrella of an oak tree. I thought it’d also be cool to be friends with butterflies who enjoyed sunshine and rainbows as much as I did.

At ten years old, I had an idea that my scrawny body might have trouble growing a set of dazzling wings and transporting me to such paradise. I did believe in angels and in the rebirth of that which lost its sweetness and died. My favorite teacher first told me about that concept, and she never lied.

Butterflies started out far different than they ended up. They went through a process, and that process took time. If a butterfly could turn into someone different, then maybe I could too.

If I could change, maybe I could eventually grow wings. Darren Scott from the community center back in Silver Spring, Maryland had grown an extra tooth in the roof of his mouth. So, anything was possible.

Sure growing wings might be a risk. My hair might get tangled in them. And wearing a winter coat on those cold Baltimore days might prove to be a challenge. Also, I wasn’t entirely sure if they’d flatten down enough against my back when I slung my backpack around my scrawny shoulder blades.

I supposed everything under the sun risked running into issues, even beautiful butterfly wings. We all had to take some risks to catch a lift out of the ordinary.

Even at ten years of age, I comprehended that concept. And at seventeen, I decided it would be worth that risk because butterflies were free to fly. They escaped the stress of homelessness, substance-abusing parents, and mean-spirited foster sisters.

Butterflies were magical, spirited beings who brightened the world around them. Everyone admired them for their beauty and grace. Even though some time had passed since I first began wishing I were a butterfly, I still dreamed of a day when I might change into the likes of a one and truly be free to fly and help those around me find their lift as well.

Back when I turned seventeen, I didn’t care about glittery rain or cotton candy as much anymore. I, Harper Ray, wanted to indulge in the shininess of a new life, one where I lived in a place where I didn’t have to double and triple lock my door at night and walk to the bus stop with my thumb pressed against the trigger of a bottle of pepper spray. I dreamed of one day not regretting leaving behind my kind foster parents and the one good person who believed in me – my foster brother, Andrew Kline.

But a full ride scholarship to Brown University meant I might end up in a position one day to find a way to love my life again the way I did before my mother’s car accident and eventual dependency on Opioids.


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