Anne loved birds and butterflies

She loved birds and butterflies, although she never knew why. When I asked her; “Why birds?”

She said, “I don’t know why I like them, but I do!”

As I got to know her, I leant that Anne was one of the least freest people I have ever met. She never said or did anything without a great caution. She never danced without thinking about the reaction of those around her.

But I noticed that like a bird that flies in the sky, free and unconfined, that Anne had the potential to reach a high place. When she said something, it wasn’t the average; they were words that had the potential to travel far.

When she did something, it was often something worthy of doing or something that transformed another or turned into something new. And that’s when I made the connection with butterflies. For they transform from one state to another.

One day, more than a decade after last seen her, I met Anne and I couldn’t believe how much she transformed. I couldn’t recognise her at first, but when I did I was amazed at the transformation.

Anne wasn’t burdened by the years for she was lighter, about 10kg, nor was she burdened by caution for she freely spoke over two hours, over wine and cigarettes.

As we got ready to leave and part ways, I said to Anne, “You have truly changed!” She smiled and told me life pushed her onto a different road! Anne never drunk nor did she smoke in her former life.

As Anne left me, I noticed something that hasn’t changed and it was her love of birds. Attached to her hippy bag were several badges of birds, nestled in between “love and peace” signs and “freedom” badges.  

I guessed that Anne transformed but was still not ready to fly!

I waved Anne goodbye, almost expecting her to fly off. But she walked, and turned around before disappearing from view to blow me a kiss!

© K. Leeban

Leaving Smelly Street

The smell of food sometimes travelled through the air until it greeted you several streets away. When I say smell, it’s not always the unpleasant kind. Sometimes it made you want to knock on the door and ask the residents of that home if you can join them for dinner.

At other times, it made you want to call the police to have the offenders arrested. But the worst offenders were human hearts. Have you ever had the chance to smell human hearts? Probably not!

I got to, and there were serious offenders on Smelly Street. Sometimes their hearts stunk so badly that you could pick up the bad smell miles away.

One day I saw a victim on Smelly Street, and I asked the poor bloke, “What’s wrong?”

“She ran,” he said, “with all of my savings and I don’t even know her last name!”

Poor guy was only dating her for a week!

The next day, I woke up early to go for a jog and I saw a young girl crying. I asked, “What’s wrong?” And she said, “My mum’s boyfriend sexually abused my younger sister, now the police are all over the house.”

Instead of jogging I wanted to go kicking boxing, but no centres where open at that time, so after apologising (like I committed the crime) and I ran miles, the longest I ever did.

A couple of days later, as I emerged out of the home I was staying in, I ran into a childhood friend. I had not seen her for many moons. She looked distraught! I asked if she was alright, and she initially said she was. But as we chatted, and I reminded her of the days that I was a great friend to her, she told me her mother-in-law had been putting horrible things in her food, so her husband wouldn’t eat it.

It included she said, “… bleach, rat droppings, and one time, her own faeces!”

That’s when I left Smelly Street, for even her good food was no longer something that would turn my stomach with desire!

© K. Leeban

Spoiled Beauty

In a place that held magic and beauty in abundance – magic not always in its light form – a little girl with many interesting gifts was born into an ordinary family. One of her gifts was beauty; an outer beauty only eclipsed by her inner beauty.

When she was born her family gathered around her, taking in turns to hold the beautiful little girl. No one was more taken in by her beauty than her father, who would call her, “A Gift.”

As the little girl attracted more and more admirers, she also attracted the anger of a local witch. They called her a witch because she practised dark magic. And she liked being called a witch because they feared her. Sometimes her magic worked; sometimes it left her frustrated as it had no impact on her victims.

So the witch began casting her magic. She mixed a potion designed to make the little girl unattractive. It didn’t work, or so the witch thought, at the time. It would take many years for it to manifest itself in her life. However, some things did start to happen to her that immediately pleased the witch. The little girl’s parents split up shortly after her first birthday. A couple of years later her father died in a tragic circumstance. Still, the little girl remained the most beautiful in her village and the witch continued her evil attacks.

As she grew, so did her beauty. In her mid-teens, long jet black hair danced around her tiny waist and her smile radiated rooms, only now her admirers changed considerably and she had very few female friends.

When the witch’s magic made its way to her physical appearance, the girl, by then a young adult, lost a foot in a horrible accident. At the time she had moved away from the village for college. And the witch also moved on – in her case, she died a few years earlier.

One day her cousin who was sitting with their grandmother lamented her cousin’s condition. Her grandmother told her, “Sometimes beauty has to be spoiled for us to accept it – look at her; she now has more friends than she ever did.”

© K. Leeban