Wayland Middle School's Literary Magazine

Butterfly in a Cage by Sofia Menyalkin

Written By: Rachel Barker - Jun• 19•18

“Brielle, please get your homework done, including your extra calculus packet and science essay that your tutor assigned you!” My mother calls to me and I sigh deeply. Skittering up the stairs to my bedroom and quietly shutting the creaking door, I kick off my worn-out chukka boots. And instead of doing my homework, I pick up a pencil and paper and start to draw.

When I was all but a child, I drew everything I saw around me. I passionately drew people, leaves, buildings, trees, and most of all, I drew butterflies. I would draw butterflies almost all day every day, begging my mom to visit the butterfly garden in town during the summer, covering every inch of our apartment’s walls in butterfly art. Butterflies were a symbol of beauty, hope, love, inspiration, and most of all, freedom. I longed to fly like a butterfly, flapping my wings and inspiring people around me everywhere I went, young or old, taking their breath away with my awe-striking beauty. Those were the good old days, the happy days, the days I was allowed to draw and my parents thought it was simply a “childish phase”. But in a short period of time, like a butterfly’s lifespan, my parents gradually began to take away my art supplies and added to my time with math lessons, science lessons, and a strict tutor. I was at the rebellious age at the time when they started to do this, so I threw fits and tried to stand up for myself. Long, angry arguments like bullfights surrounded my life back then, and I was the charging bull every time. For every rebellion of mine, my parents didn’t get frustrated but simply took away my art for a while and wouldn’t give it back until I apologized. In the end, my parents won. I had surrendered and taken the fall for my art, the only light to my day; my passion that was only starting to fire up.

I ignore my mother when she yells up the stairs, “Are you done with your homework yet?” and continue drawing: Two beautiful, graceful, freeing wings that look like they could fly up to the sky on their own; a lean, slender body; arms and legs as tender and fragile as the touch of a fingertip; two antennae shooting up to the stars, and to top it all off, a gorgeous, vibrant background, thriving in life. All starting with just a butterfly. I hear angry footsteps stomping up the stairs and see my bedroom door swing open, making a thud as it hits the wall.

“BRIELLE! I warned you last time not to draw. This is the last straw, you hear me?!” my mother shouts, her eyebrows furrowed and her lips turning down into a menacing frown as soon as she sees the paper I was drawing on. Snatching the drawing off my desk, she grumbles, “I warned you.” She positions her hands on both top corners of the paper, and I beg, beg her not to do it, try to send her a telepathic message willing her not to even dare, but she does it.

“Rrrippp!” It’s the most horrible sound I’ve ever heard. A piece of paper ripping in half.

“GET BACK TO WORK!” My mother barks, and I purse my lips together as she walks out the door and slams it shut, letting a big gust of air at me. I pick up my once beautiful drawing, and try to tape it together the best I can until I realize this is my reality: my beautiful butterfly torn into pieces. I decide to add a finishing touch to this piece of art: I draw intense, strict, dramatic lines vertically across the butterfly, pressing into the paper as hard as I can, and add two harsh horizontal lines above and below.

I draw a butterfly in a cage.


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