We are. I am.

The Psychology major made notes on paper that would go inside her file. She asked when I was happiest and I’ve just realised that what I felt back then about that happiness-time is that it had the same smell as things do now. It’s visceral yet blindly naïve and full of courage. The smell of affection is like the smell of the coming rain. It lives like a tangible synapse because of how tightly it is tied to the wings of the butterflies that dance in your stomach.

When you were young, being excited about boys or girls lived in that mild-melee of innocent mischief. It was celebrated by you and your best friend in those very sacred spaces where no parents were allowed.  Letters were written, kissed with lipstick or sprayed with deodorant and then passed through the pre-teen postal service of four friends and their friends-of-friends who knew the loved one and promised to deliver it to his Space Case pencil box. The smell of that impending love was like the smell of buttered popcorn popping, living like a tangible synapse because of how tightly it was tied to the wings of the butterflies that danced in your stomach.

What hope is there when the word ‘crush’ means the same as ‘squash’ or ‘defeat’? And does this mean it always has to end this way? What’s to be said for that moment where something innocent begins and something sincere follows? And if something begins where something ends, why are there beginnings where we didn’t want endings?

Getting older involves having learned lessons that leave you overly cautious and stupidly hesitant with your heart. You climb, laboured between trees of sadness and shock before you ascend to pleasure and a view of understanding what defines happiness for you… Where the smell of fascination is like the smell of a man freshly dressed. And still, it lives like a tangible synapse because of how tightly it is tied to the wings of the butterflies that can still be felt dancing in your stomach.

It is the butterflies that remind us that we are alive. We are. I am.

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© Dylan Balkind

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