Life Through Tiny Eyes

By Nahid Rauf

As Joe was sitting on a rock by the ocean, he was thinking of all the tiredness that was left on him over the old dusted years. He was feeling the heaviness of the future, which has always been ambiguous and foggy. Today before the sunset was the instant that the present Joe lost against his past and future. He decided to put an end to the legend of his, and at that moment the closest ending to him was the ocean.

Before hurling his body into the ocean, the endless blue seemed so beautiful and kind to listen to his pains. He got up and took a few steps back to make a higher jump and crush fall a few meters deeper. As soon as he wanted to press his back foot to the ground to start a run which was the beginning of his end, a voice whispered to him: “Hey! What are you trying to do?”

Joe looked around but there was no one. He thought to himself that in his last moments, maybe he is delusional. The voice came again

“Here! This up!”

He raised his head but still did not see anything. Now he was sure that it was nothing but an illusion. Only a butterfly kept coming and going in front of his face.

“That’s right, it’s me, the butterfly!” said the voice.

At that moment, Joe’s mind could not analyze anything and he was numb with wonder. But everything was real. The butterfly was here since Joe came and after witnessing everything, the butterfly remembered the words of the wise butterfly in one of the dialogues that those two had:

“Souls do not belong to the earth, they are only visitors here, but the earth does not accept anything except from its own nature, that is why every soul is given a body from the earth. Your and my body is delicate and vulnerable, it cannot endure here for a long time, but the human body is more resistant. If you can take from those bodies, you can experience more wonders on earth.”

“Is it possible to own the body of a human being?” the butterfly asked the wise butterfly.

“Owning is the wrong word. None of us owns these bodies, they have been loaned to us until the time comes for us to migrate from the earth.”

“How can I borrow a human body?”

“Not how! But when! When the bond between soul and body disappears. A soul that has already gave up, forgets about its trust and somehow thinks of itself as the owner of the body.”

“How do I know that day has arrived?”

“The day you saw a person who wanted to leave the earth, that’s the time to take the trust. Don’t forget there is a big difference between leaving and migrating.”

“Why would man want to leave this wonderful earth before the destined time?”

“This is what only a human knows.”

As butterfly believed that it is that day, so it continued its conversation with Joe:

“I have an offer, let’s exchange our bodies, if both of us agree, this is possible.” It remained silent for a while and continued, “Even if we, the butterflies live long, it won’t be more than two weeks. Is it not better to die by destiny, than to end your life so weakly yourself? Again, your lungs are used to air and when they are filled with water, you cannot imagine how much you will suffer until they give up.” Its words, which had no logic in them, seemed logical.

“Ok but only if you promise to do my condition,” replied Joe.

“What condition?”

As it always happens when you reach the end of something you remember the beginning. Joe remembered the day when he was holding one of his father’s fingers with his tiny little hand and asked him:

“Dad, where did Mom go?”

“Your mother turned into a flower on the Azar hill.”

“Why did she go so far away from us?”

“Because that hill needed beautifying, your mother went to beautify it.”

“What kind of flower has mom became?”

“A red tulip.”

“You don’t like red Tulip? Because I saw you crying these days”

“No, no I love it I just didn’t want her to go alone, I wanted to go with her too.”

“Is she lonely there?”

“I didn’t mean this. Of course she is not, there are thousands of mothers out there who have turned into red tulips.”

“So one day I will go to Azar hill and paint all of them because I don’t know which one is my mom.”

Joe decided to choose his dream that he already knew was based on lies to comfort a child; so he continued with his condition, “Promise me to go to the Azar hill and paint the red tulips, It was my dream.”

“Why you didn’t fulfill it yourself?”

After a moment of silence he came up with an answer:

“Because I had more important things to do.”

Butterfly thought with itself, “How can something be that important to become your dream and at the same time so unimportant that you don’t have time for it? Another human thing.”

It started speaking, “I don’t know how to paint”

“I bet this body will remember it.”

The butterfly agreed and they changed their bodies in a blink of eye. As the butterfly wanted to leave with the boy’s body, the young boy said: “Anyway, from now on, your name will be Joe.”

“But that was your name, now that this body is mine, I can have another.”

“No, you can’t, this name is registered.”

“Registered to what? Earth?”

“Sort of. Basically, registered to a part of the earth.”

“Well, what if I go to another part?”

“You have to register again, register to that new place. In fact, it is not that easy, it is better to live in the geography where you were born.”

“Why isn’t it easy?”

The  young boy, who was tired of so many questions, answered carelessly, “I don’t know, some places don’t consider you suitable for that part of their land.”

The part of “their land” confused butterfly, who had understood that the earth now has owners and is divided among people, he was quietly staring at one point.

The boy felt a little sympathy and talked in a calmer tone: “But you can go to other towns, you don’t have to go too far, anyways we don’t have time to go far. Now that you are in my body, the personality of this body changes and this is not acceptable to those around me, it is better to leave this city and have a new beginning.”

“I thought the change of personality is a new beginning itself”

“But for those around you, changing your city is more acceptable than changing your personality.”

After hearing all these words that it did not expect to hear, butterfly looked at its former body, which was free in the air and its wings were touching the air, and asked with a lower tone, “Is being human a good thing?”

With this question, all the past years of Joe came before his eyes and led to this answer “It depends”.

9 July, 2023