As I am now used to conducting weird conversations with a Wizard in guise of a cat. And myself being Fiona, an ogress disguised as a princess. I wasn’t at all that surprised when one day I received a Facebook message from a wonderful butterfly lady.
“Loved your Yoga article,” she wrote to me. “Had a similar experience in India. Yoga in the mornings only. If I send you a friend request I hope you will accept. I am a travel writer.”
Now somewhat amused and a tad curious plus a shade excited, I wrote back to this mysterious Madam Butterfly.
“Thanks lady Butterfly!” I enthusiasmed. “Always lovely to hear what people thought of my writing. Do you enjoy yoga regularly? And do you have a travel blog? I would love to read your adventures.”
Some time later I receive a message back from the Land Down Under.
“Hi sweet girl,” the butterfly lady wrote. “New Year’s eve here. Thinking of you and what a wonderful lovely spontaneous person you are. One of my New Year’s gifts to me is acknowledging that and telling you. Let’s set up a time in the new year to FaceTime. Between the 2nd and 3rd of January I will be in my little sea side holiday home and would love to show you it. Great you saw Helene. All love.”
Now this message threw me off a little. For one, I didn’t take much to being called a ‘sweet girl’, though I know that the Wizard had once told me he always referred to me as someone ‘so sweet’. Still, although the butterfly lady seemed interesting and her writing was immaculately beautiful, just like the colour of her wings, I still didn’t like it. Sweet is the opposite of tough, and whilst I am the first to acknowledge my own vulnerabilities, I don’t like them so openly confirmed. And second, surely at the ripe age of 41 I was now to be recognized as a warm-blooded woman. Not an innocent and inexperienced girl?
And being a woman in every vein and nerve and cell of my body, I dissected the entire message word for word. Me, spontaneous? If anything, I am boring, and stick to routines like the good old little asperger autist that I am. Or did she find me spontaneous for replying to a message from a complete stranger? Which in truth, I now begin to see was something which might be potentially dangerous. I mean, the past year has proven that the internet is a dangerous place, where lost souls lurk.
Still, curiosity killed the cat. And despite my misgivings, I so eagerly wanted to write back to her. Which I promptly did.
“Hi lady Butterfly, I’m happy to hear you are having a wonderful time,” I started out cautiously. “It’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow for us. Would need to work out the time difference. Heleen is actually my assistant in real life. My stories are fiction and people in my life get warped up in the strange fiction I spin out. In real life I am all but spontaneous. I would describe myself more as a rather boring and traditional kind of person. Wishing you an amazing New Year with your friends and family. All the best, Fiona.”
There, that should show her I am a woman of substance, I thought. And I eagerly awaited a reply from the complete opposite side of the world. This exchange felt like the start of a complete unknown adventure. Unknown and exciting.
“I don’t think so,” the butterfly lady refuted my false claims of being a boring and traditional kind of person. “Anyway same to you. I’ll work it out.”
Strangely enough, I discovered that I felt relieved. At least somebody was seeing me partly for who I truly am. Not boring, or strange. But a person with many shades of a rainbow. I smile and decide instantly that I like this butterfly lady.
“Very funny,” I add smileys and emojis to my message. “Looking forward to our chat. Happy New Year to you and yours!”
My head spinning wild with imagination of adventurous travels and marvellous discoveries in a land so far away from anything I know. I did manage to set about my usual stuff. Softly humming to myself until I noticed that the Wizard had reappeared. Just as I was wondering whether New Zealand, being close to Australia could actually be mistaken for the Land of Oz… or Wonderland… or maybe even the promised land.
“Something interesting: one of my blog readers contacted me from New Zealand,” I start telling the Wizard all about this strange exchange. I am sure this is something which will peak his interest instantly. “She wants to Facetime chat in the new year. I googled her and they are Brits who moved there in 1989 and invested a lot. Maybe she wants to meet Dorothy… And I got rid of Dorothy. Last blog post with Dorothy was published on Christmas day.”
“Yes that is interesting,” the Wizard replies to my excited chatter. “Meet her. Maybe she likes our conversation. Maybe they want to discuss possibilities. You never know until you investigate.”
“Okay I will,” I smile happily that the Wizard approves of my wild imagination for once. “I haven’t got any new blog posts scheduled. The story ended on Christmas day. Or should I continue? Should we? Cause you are half of all that.”
There’s something funny about cats. They can suddenly just totally ignore you and you have no inkling of a clue why. Or how you could best attract their attention again. What I’ve learned with my Wizard cat is to just ignore him in return, until something magical pops up and he’ll finally end up wanting to know exactly which naughty stuff I’m up to next.
I hadn’t heard from the butterfly lady for a bit, so I decide to text her again to make sure I am showing enough enthusiasm and interest in our exchange. Maybe I put her off with my silly message last time. Wouldn’t want that now that the Wizard thinks I should head off on another magical quest.
“Hi lady Butterfly, I just looked it up,” I write carefully. “I believe that Brussels is 12 hours behind New Zealand Auckland time. So if it’s 9 in the evening at your place, then it is 9 in the morning here. Something like that.”
I hit send with a strange renewed feeling of pure excitement in my stomach. The kind of excitement I haven’t felt since I was a little girl spending Christmas at my grandparents’ house in England.
“That’s exactly right,” the butterfly lady replies back shortly after. “I’m used to the time difference. New Year morning here just having a cuppa tea.”
Now that’s a nice reply. Still she’s not committing to a specific time and date to chat. And whilst I was holding off the boat quite a bit to start out with, I am now desperately curious and nosey to find out why she contacted me and what she would like to talk about.
“Oooh wonderful!” I cheer back at her. “We’re celebrating New Year’s Eve here now. Just finished our desserts. We’re all really enjoying ourselves. Do you have a big family? What about your travel writing?”
I am still sitting on my happy pink cloud daydreaming of fun possibilities the future might hold, when I am abruptly awoken from my thoughts by another ping on my iPhone. Hoping to find an answer from the butterfly lady I hastily unlock my phone only to be faced with a message from Jo. And not a nice one at that. I look up disgruntled and see the Wizard cat lying in the bathroom sink looking at me with big blue-green eyes.
“Happy New Year!” I start out with an exchange of politeness so I can hop on to the issue annoying me right now. “Just received a message from Jo.”
“Happy New Year to you,” the Wizard winks back at me amused from his curled up position in the sink.
“My half-sister in the UK had her baby the day before yesterday,” I say softly and a smile comes to my face. After all, my squabble with Jo is meaningless. Not worth repeating to people. “A little girl, Grace. A mixed-race baby, like Willem. Only Grace looks mixed-race and Willem doesn’t. So adorably cute. She might want to meet me too some day. How is your New Year’s? Are you eating too much?”
The Wizard cat just looks at me lazily as it curls up to snooze. No reply is needed anyway.
* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.