The Man Who Also Loved Butterflies

26 Jan

How Vladi fell in love with butterflies was: he brought one to his father’s cell when he was seven years old. He also brought some fatty chicken broth, which his mother had made for his father, and which his father was allowed to have every ninety days. How Vladi found out what they did to his father was: he simply was allowed to watch through a slit in the iron door. He saw his father on his knees. Standing. It’s strange to describe an imprisoned man standing on his knees. Back straight, not leaning on his calves, head and shoulders up. Standing before an incomprehensible force alive just beyond the field of vision the slit allowed. Standing at that force’s attention. That’s how Vladi saw his father in the cell for three days straight. Nothing more. And though his father was bound by terror, there seemed to be no one else in the box alongside him, barking orders or monitoring. For Vladi it seemed like soul cleansing; a sort of meditation the paternal convict was allowed to have. (You should try that and see how you feel after one hour only–back straight now, little pioneer) In his box, many years later, standing at his own interrogator’s attention Vladi turned inside deeply and thought of Socrates: “know thyself.” And he began: the line dividing good and evil passes through hearts of men, not states, classes, nor political parties. And the line constantly shifts. And as it cuts through the heart of every human being, who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? Know thyself, you devil saint. Confronted by the pit into which he was about to be tossed, Vladi forgot everything. He halted. What he remembered was not actually history but merely that hackneyed dotted line his interrogator had chosen to drive into his memories by incessant hammering. Earlier, Vladi confessed and signed that throughout his imprisonment he had spent much of his time laboriously dissecting a confusing species of butterflies called Polyommatus blues. He mused on how they had evolved. In his handwritten document he confessed he had lived incarcerated but free with the butterflies. That document was signed in red ink. In it he also betrayed a group of people already executed and buried in mass graves underneath various concrete basements.

The line constantly shifts. Some got to have inscriptions on their boxes. Work fine and you shall be buried in a coffin as well!


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