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small change (exceptions)

There are two buildings that rise up in the distance, when I go towards the hardware store. I imagine a modern-day Rapunzel might live in one of them. The sky is packed with clouds, but a strange one hovers above one of the towers, a lonely mushroom, a cloud fedora, a sore thumb.

There is a store here, Pyaterochka. The name brings to mind a little bird, maybe a sparrow. I used to go to a Pyaterochka that had little birds that flew around inside it, but it actually means "5", taken from the Russian word "pyat". In "little five" people wander the aisles, counting out rubles, with bags of potatoes, maybe a box of wine. I find myself scouring the neighborhood from time to time, looking for a special type of milk for V. It comes in tiny purple boxes, and appears as randomly and sparingly as butterflies. Today, I am in Pyaterochka and there are a few boxes. I check the expiration dates on them. Stores here will sell expired milk and meat without batting an eye…

Even the flies know how to find the openings

There are butterflies that come in from the balcony, flapping hard against the walls and the ceiling. They end up by the windows, smacking against the glass for a few minutes then resting. E runs through the house, shouting about them. I watch the tiny creature, wings closing in slow motion as it regroups. There is something ironic about a being that is so beautiful and so tragic at the same time. Even the flies know how to find the openings. 

There was a pair of butterflies that did this last year, almost to the day. I wonder if this is one of their children. I wonder what it must be like to live for just a few days and then die, a week or so at most, much of it slapping against windows trying to somehow get back outside. It seems impossible, yet merciful. 

The streets are full of people wandering in the heat with fresh flowers tucked under one arm, with cigarettes dangling from the corners of their mouths, with blisters on one heel, with spare change for the woman wrapped in black cloth who curls up on the sidewalk, her face on the ground with one hand thrust out, palm to the sky. There are people selling pineapples for three dollars, one cut open to show the inside with a small knife plunged into the center. It always disturbs me, standing wet and sticky in the fruit no one is buying. 

E skips next to me, chirping some dialogue from her latest Niki Dashentine story. She is ready to buy an ice cream, looking up at me from under the straw hat I bought her. 
"Do you think there will be another butterfly when we get home?" She asks.
"Anything is possible." I tell her.
"But would it be the same butterfly or a different one?" She continues.
"How would we know?" I ask her.
She thinks for a moment, her mouth twisting around.
"We could not know." She says.
"So then, we have to guess if the same butterfly would come back." I tell her.
"Nah." She answers. "It would not make the same mistake."














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