Write a story that includes: a tombstone, a first kiss, and a butterfly collection…
Freddie smiled, mostly to himself; after all he was pretty sure the butterflies wouldn’t appreciate the smile. Especially if they knew why he was smiling. He twisted the lid closed on the huge jam jar, after having quickly dropped some lettuce leaves and some flowers into the jar. After pulling the pencil from his ear and reaching over for his notebook, he rested his chin on his one hand and began sketching the newest member of the collection.
He was so into his butterflies he didn’t hear his mother knocking on his bedroom door. She opened the door and stood there watching him for a moment. Freddie turned to look at her. He noticed two things about her. Her face was drawn and expressionless. The shirt she was wearing belonged to his father. She walked into the bedroom and sat on his bed and waiting until he turned around.
His world crashed around him.
He seemed to have stopped functioning for a few minutes because the next thing he knew was his head was in his mother’s lap, her fingers running through his hair as they had done when he was younger. He didn’t say anything but he could feel her tears falling onto the back of his neck. He didn’t say anything because his own were falling onto her knee. He didn’t know how long they had stayed there, it could have been forever. That was how it felt.
For weeks the two of them pottered around as if nothing was wrong. They would get up in the morning. Freddie’s mother would get him ready for school. Freddie would walk to school with his friends and walk back. Mother would help him with his homework, they would eat tea, Freddie would go to his bedroom and feed his butterflies. He watched them, listening to the sound of his mothers cries. It was as if she were on auto pilot every moment that Freddie was around. He wondered what she was like when he was at school.
One Saturday, Freddie woke up early. He went down stairs and made his mother breakfast. He went to her bedroom and knocked on the door. There was no answer, he struggled to open the door with the tray in his hand, but he got it open and tiptoed in. Mother was still in bed, she was awake, and tears coursed silently down her cheeks. Freddie walked over to her side of the bed and put the tray on her bedside table. They made eye contact for a moment, before Freddie left. He thought he heard whisper ‘Thank you’ as he closed the door behind him.
Freddie had an idea. He went upstairs and got dressed. He looked around the room to make sure he had everything he needed. On the spur of the moment, he picked up his jam jar, and he made his way down stairs. He tiptoed around the downstairs and quietly let himself out of the front door, his jam jar clutched tightly in his hands.
Even on a Saturday morning, the graveyard was spooky looking. Freddie couldn’t see anyone else, apart from him. He made his way to the usually place he went with his mother. He placed the jar down on the soft grass and kneeled down behind it. He looked at the black marble cross in front of him. And a girl popped her head from the other side.
“Hi,” Molly said.
“Hi,” he replied. She walked around to his side and sat down cross legged on the floor. Freddie noticed her knees were dirty. She looked into the jam jar and then her big blue eyes met his green.
“You’ve got another one?” she smiled.
“Yes, it flew in the other day when I opened the jar to feed them,” he explained.
“Cool,” she grinned.
“My Dad’s left,” he said, simply. Even as a nine year old, he didn’t see the interest in beating around the bush.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Molly said, reaching over and taking his hand.
“I’m leaving. Me and Mum,” he said. “She said its just us now. We need to make a fresh start. I will be leaving next week for a new house.”
“How exciting!” she said, but her smile, though dimpling her freckled cheeks, didn’t reach her eyes.
“I’m not excited,” he said. “I’m sad. My Dad didn’t want my Mum, so he left me too. Mum says he has a new wife who he is living with. I hate him. I don’t want to move. I want to stay here.”
Molly stood up. She signalled to Freddie to stand up too. He did. She stood close to him. She took his hands. He noticed her blue gingham dress and red shoes. Dorothy. She smelt of L’Oreal Kids No Knots Swim shampoo. Strawberry flavour. He could see every freckle on her nose. He saw her hair was more brown than black. She pressed her lips to his, and pulled back almost just as quickly.
“Remember me,” she said. He nodded. Too stunned to speak. She smiled, kissed his cheek, turned and ran away. Her almost black hair flying in the wind. Freddie watched as her blue dress became smaller and smaller and finally disappeared into the woods. He bent down to pick up his jam jar and turned to walk home.
“YES!” he cried, jumping in the air.
He smiled all the way home.