Cocoon

I remember when I was younger, I loved exploring in the backyard. There would be so many little beautiful, mysterious things under rocks, hiding in a crevice or right there in plain sight.

There was this one time time when I found a cocoon and my parents explained to me that inside there was something beautiful but I had to wait,

“The butterfly comes out when it is ready.” Mum said to me.

At first I tried to wait and thought to give it more love. Should I make it a bed?
Maybe a little one out of tissues to keep it warm.
Both Mum and Dad said that I didn’t need to do anything, just be patient.

I watched it all day just in case something happened. But, to my surprise and disappointment – nothing.

I wanted it to hurry up. I was impatient.

No one was around and I couldn’t wait, so I decided something must be wrong – why didn’t he respond to my love? He must be stuck, I need to save him I thought to myself.

So I started to take away the layers of the cocoon and I felt wriggling inside. Ah! He’s stuck, I knew it! No one else knew but I cared for him the most so how was anyone else to know what he needed?
Excitedly, I kept peeling more layers off and it became more difficult. The wriggling continued – a little more intensely this time.
But then as I got to the centre I realised something was wrong, it was just gooey.
I felt hot and sick all at once.

The wriggling stopped.
He was dead.

But he was just wriggling and alive, how could this be?

My eyes felt hot and my vision became blurry. I fell on my bottom and started to cry loudly, real loudly because Dad came outside and asked me what was the matter. He scooped me up and I saw him looking down at the ground where it was clear what had happened. What I had done was evident. 

“He’s dead.” I said crying into Dad’s shoulder, I pressed my face so hard into his shirt that the darkness became a purple-red murkiness and I could feel the pressure on my eyeballs. My little nose hurt as I pushed harder.

After a time Dad started to talk, “Matey, we told you to be patient and wait. He wasn’t ready yet,” His hand stroking my hair as he swayed gently, back and forth.
“But I made him a little bed and he was wriggling.” I said, feeling snot mixing with tears.
Dad’s shirt was damp and slimy now. The light hurt my eyes and I tried to open them again and look through the tears.

Dad pulled me away from his shoulder and bought us face to face and said, “You can give all the love you like, that’s fine. But you can’t give that expecting something to happen sooner or something to go your way.” 

I shut my eyes and kept them shut, the tears still rolling down my cheek and my breathing slowing down. I didn’t understand.

 

Dad

After ranting all day about how lonely I felt, Mum had gone out with the girls from work and it was just Dad and me at home and he said he would take me out for dinner.

Part of me wanted to say no and keep wallowing in my own self pity but then I sensed that Dad needed this just as much as I did, maybe even more.

We walked down to Woodstock nearby, my arm linked with his as he tapped his cane along the pavement talking about everything that came to our minds. Walks with Dad are like some kind of lucid conversation; ideas, stories and the odd revelation.

And just like that there we were, father and son sitting at the bar picking at a salumi and cheese plate when he says, “Well, I’m not your boyfriend but I can still take you out to dinner you know?”

My eyes start to sting and my vision is blurred with the tears welling up but I can still make out that Dad is looking at no direction in particular as he pops an olive into his mouth, the same way he does when he thinks Mum doesn’t see him sneak another piece of bread during dinner every night.

I try to distract myself and stuff a piece of prosciutto into my mouth and swallow without chewing. It hurts to swallow and I manage to get out a thank you.

“This area is buzzing! It was never like this when you were a little tacker. Did you know the tram used to run up to Windy Hill?” The moment had passed and we were onto the next topic.

“Yeah, I remember seeing the tracks when I was little, but it was kind of pointless because it was only a few hundred metres.” I said as I put my arm on his shoulder.