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I trailed back to my house, a swallowtail butterfly resting in my palm, each black stripe and pattern vivid against the bright yellow. It must have gotten hit up where they’re building that new house. The tips of my fingers glistened with sweat. I tried to keep to the shade, hoping my hand was better than the hot pavement.

A few minutes previously I’d been in the shaded woods, laughing. My right arm was white from zinc and slick from holding my phone up to my ear as I walked. I was prying details from my gal friend about a guy.

“What color is his hair?” I asked. (Her previously description included the fact that he had two arms and two legs and looked human, which did not satisfy my curiosity in the least.)

“Fungus,” she replied.

I shifted my phone, my voice thick with laughter. “Wait. Say that again.”

“Blondish,” came the reply this time.

I told her what I thought I had heard. The line went silent (a sure sign she was quaking with laughter). As she drew breath (several seconds later), I heard the gasping breaths of her laughter. I’d gotten her good this time, for sure.

I refrained from asking if he liked donuts (that’s another story), and continued to interrogate her about him. He was a Christian (of course), probably a bit under six feet tall, and had this cool bike (I call them ‘city bikes,’ and she calls them ‘road bikes’) that was a hybrid.

Now, I was on my way back to my house, a beautiful butterfly in my hand. We’d finally run out of things to talk about, and we exchanged prayer requests. Sometimes I wonder if heaven will be full of butterflies. And if it is, can I climb the tallest of trees of the forest to send them rising like a cloud into the peerless sky? After that, I’ll climb back down to earth and spend my time laughing. I’ll give shade and shelter and laughter to my friends, as they’ve given me.

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