Six Ways to Say Butterfly

by Yasmin Elaine Waring

Butterfly. Flutur. Farfalla. Papillon. Mariposa. Parpar.

He repeated these six words. His only confession. First memorized to impress her. He hadn't thought of her in years. Remembered she loved butterflies. Marvelled at the petalled wings, paper-thin, saturated with color. The weight of their intricate design caused them to flutter unsteadily. So she believed.

“Flutur” was her favorite translation. From the Albanian. She loved the sound of it. Felt it captured the essence of their almost transparent existence. Notice how they seem to disappear, she said, when they fold their wings and still themselves. Easily missed, if you aren't looking.

“Parpar” was the only word his captor recognized. It was Hebrew. Not his native tongue, but close enough. He smiled at this, before making the final cut.