“I’m a perfectionist
Because my mind moves
A million miles a minute
And if I don’t write
It’ll become residue
On the road
To creation.” – Nicki Wicz
“7 Orange Butterflies”
Fiction. Based on a True Saturn’s Return.
by Mingjie Zhai
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.
Maple cooked an amazing Chicken and Kale salad dinner, mom took the blue and lavender hydrangeas Angelie bought for her in the house, and at the mention of “The One with the Thanksgiving Dinner” Friends episode when Angelie observed Maple basting the chicken in the oven, Maple had put on Friends and Angelie was cackling in laughter for the time the chicken was heating until the family got together to play cards again for that evening.
Angelie had won again. And it didn’t matter that Maple had requested they switch seats, Angelie kept winning. “What’s going on?” Maple asked confused. Angelie was quiet throughout the card game, but when she asked, Angelie felt a sense of peace overcome her. “God’s will not my be done,” she wanted to say, but she didn’t want to come off self-righteous so she said smartly, “It’s Saturn retrograde and I’m a Capricorn.”
Perhaps all this time, Maple’s just been wanting for her big sister to start acting like a big sister again, instead of this sad, depressed, withdrawn shell of a person she had been for the past 8 years. Maple had been so so sad when she heard that her big sister, the one she had looked up to for so long, had wound up in the mental hospital again, another suicide attempt, and this was too much to handle for her for so long so she did what any normal person would do—let go and focus on what she can control. Perhaps, Maple of all people in her family wanted Angelie to heal and get back to the spunky, strong, sarcastic, and overconfident girl that she had been most of her teen, college, and post-college life.
Perhaps that’s why Maple was so pissed at Angelie when she told her little sister that she had called the cops on Aaron just when he began revealing his deepest darkest secrets to her. “Why did you have to call the cops? You could have just walked away. I mean selling drugs is bad yeah, but if you had done that to me, I would never trust you again.” Both of them are scorpios, so hearing it directly from her sister was like hearing it directly from Aaron. Maple is exactly one year and one day older than Aaron. She wonders if there is something weird about dating someone who is younger than her own little sister. Whatever the case maybe, Angelie spent the morning listening to dating Scorpio men and dating Capricorn women. She can’t get him out of her mind, but what also did get into her mind in addition to thinking about him was her online church message of “Standing Still.” And again another church message from a different congregation later that day also preached a similar message, allowing the Holy Spirit to work within her so she can be confident in the rest that God is handling the things that she has no control over. The war is indeed in the spirit. Right now, she is resting in the promise that it will happen. She doesn’t need to show up at his door. He’ll call when he’s ready or maybe he may even show up at her door one day. Both of them are crazy and courageous enough to do something of the sort.
The next morning, Angelie walked Roxy per usual, but what was unusual was that as she started noticing the Orange Butterflies…She had the thought that Aaron is back with Amy now, that the test is already over, the battle already won, and Angelie in this karmic lifecycle is at the final stage in the game. The orange butterflies reminded her of the orange sash of Rylie. The man who she had fallen head over heals for some two years ago. The man who said, “wat,” with a fat lady emoji when he couldn’t understand her mind yet was fascinated by it, the man who told her that he didn’t mind when she journaled about him, when she included him in her Vlogs, the man who made her laugh and smile every other second, the Scottish-Irish man—the one whose instagram is the same…after these two years they’ve last kissed. His cat was orange and his sash was orange…the sash that had kept his nephew’s bosom close to him, with the forest behind him in Switzerland, where his sister is raising a quiet family in a cottage, and that scene—the space, place, and humble grace between dreams and reality is where Orange butterflies conjure the deepest stirrings of her villain’s heart.
Can she trust that what she had done with Aaron—specifically calling him out on his sickness and letting him go, allowing Amy to start attending Al-anon meetings and escalating the problem so Aaron could attend AA and take his recovery—drug use and abuse—super seriously so they can build that family together? Angelie needs to stay ghost and allow the Holy Ghost to work with her and through her.
Today, a seasoned grant writer and former non profit founder gave Angelie the feedback that she had hit a grant-winning streak five years after she had founded her company and she had been riding high with it and had overstayed her time there a few years after the 10th year mark. Angelie knows that she has a 9 year timeline if she is disciplined and obeys the Holy Spirit and 13 years if she wants to still play around and wander off from distractions. Whatever the case may be, Angelie saw the first Orange butterfly while walking Roxy through the neighborhood cul de sac, and just when she thought how odd it is to see an Orange butterfly of sorts, she saw another one, and another one, gliding across her, and then next, she saw one swimming up and down the wind next to her, and by the time both Roxy and Angelie were rounding back to their home, she had already counted five Orange butterflies. She wonders if she’ll count 7 and sure enough right before she set foot in the driveway, the last Orange butterfly glided across her way, left to right, and had flown over their home.
She wonders if she truly shuts the door behind Aaron and Amy, will a dream of a deeper past resurrect itself and come back to reality again?
Can she trust that God will know exactly who Angelie would choose and will choose for Angelie because He’ll know more about her hidden heart than she knows?