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"We were playing with leaves shaped like butterflies"

by David Holzel


We were playing with leaves shaped like butterflies. Connie said they looked like butterflies. I watched her catch a leaf the color of ketchup. She held it up to me for inspection and added it to our pile. I was zipped tight into my coat, my hands bound by mittens, and could only chase the leaves. When the wind drove them around in a mad circle I ran with them, shouting for them to come back as the twister grew large and then came to rest. But Connie seemed to pick them out of the air.


Her hands were red from cold. "I need my bare fingers," she said. So I pulled off my mittens so I would have bare fingers, too. I tried to see the butterfly in the leaf.


"Look, my butterfly is yellow." Connie held up single leaf. "It's spring now."


The sky was turning dark as the attic. The wind rose again. "I'm cold," I said. The advancing gloom was as hard to pierce as the sharp air.


"You can't be cold. It's spring." Connie had pulled the sleeves of her coat over her hands. The yellow leaf stuck out from one sleeve. She suddenly let it go and it flew to me and brushed my face. Connie laughed. I scooped a handful of leaves and threw them at her. They rained down on her hood and caught along her neck. I took off. Connie chased me with a red ball of leaves in her fist, but when she heaved it at me, the ball released and the leaves went their own ways.


Another gust of wind scratched my face, and what was left of our pile whipped into the air and scattered. On the corner the street light flickered on. From the dusk Connie's mother called her to supper. As Connie crossed the street and began to fade away I heard her motherís voice again: "Whatís happened to your mittens?"



© Copyright 2000-2003 by David Holzel


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