fence transparency

This text is by Eleni Zaharopoulos in her capacity and does not, necessarily, reflect the views of different infinite mile contributors, infinite mile co-founders, the authors' employers and/or other affiliations.  

excerpts from booted butterfly, 2010-2014*

Eleni Zaharopoulos

booted butterfly heading 01

Nothing too fancy.  Just something to get me back to June 28th, 2010.

I have no interest in killing Hitler or preventing the Twin Towers from falling.  As for dinosaurs, I can wait until I die to get a good look at them. I just need a plain, no frills time machine. I don't even need a radio.  All it needs to have is the capacity to travel back to June 28th, 2010. I'd like to arrive in the early evening.  I would skip out on my night class and instead plan a surprise dinner date—complete with dessert and complimentary blow job for my cuddle foot.  His June 28th self would really appreciate it.

Dear God,

Please have someone invent a time machine.  Let it be invented preferably by next month.  Also, please let the inventor be a close friend of mine so that I can use it.


This blows.

I am still mad you're not here.  I'm mad that we are now the tragic examples of love lost to our mutual friends.  I'm mad that we are the reason people we know hold their lovers just a little bit tighter at night.  I'm mad about all of this.  Why couldn't we have kept our original positions as the power couple everyone had already gotten used to?
I know this anger will pass, and like the gas in my stomach that turns into farts I will be relieved. Yes, I just wrote that. What else am I to compare my anger to? This isn't rage. This isn't violent. This anger is like a bloated stomach filled with lots of undigested things.

booted butterfly screenshot 01

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The church bells began around one.  As you know, the church bells here have four electronic settings: birth, wedding, baptism, and death.  The death bells are slow and intermittent without a real melody to them.  They're creepy.  You feel that death is in fact upon you when you hear them.  Needless to say, they successfully get their point across.

I'm sitting in my grandfather's house.  The second floor is known as our part of the house.  Aside from the room where my bedridden grandmother and her caregiver sleep, it's the place where we, the relatives from America, stay when we visit.  It's where you and I stayed.

God I loved your impersonation of my bedridden grandmother.  My mom says she's about ninety-six now.  She's still bedridden obviously, but she's definitely gotten more skeletal since the last time I saw her, which was with you three summers ago.

My mother and cousin stand on the balcony while I sit in the big, cushiony, floral chair that faces the same view — a giant mountain and the church directly across the street—now bustling with activity.  My mother is pointing out people she hasn't seen in close to forty years as well as making fun of any outdated haircuts she spots.  My cousin smokes a cigarette and talks about how much money the mortuary is going to make today.  I'm writing, and feeling miserable.

My cousin says, "funerals are red carpet events around here.  See and be seen."  I get up, join him on the balcony, and look out onto the scene.  He's right.  It seems like the whole village has descended upon the church.  I recognize many faces, a lot of them being distant relatives I hardly know yet have managed to witness age on an annual basis every summer since I was a child.  The guest of honor is a being loaded into the church.  It is the corpse of the ninety year old woman who until yesterday lived in the house directly behind ours.  It takes a few men to get her open air casket through the door.  I sit back down again.  Moments later, the service begins.  I know this because the speakers in the trees have been turned on so that those who chose to decline on this open invitation may hear the cantor from the luxury of their couches.  My mother gets up.  "I'm going to go light a candle."  She's interested to see what kind of commotion she'll stir.  "If I go in there, I'm going to steal the crowd.  Where have you been?  they'll ask me."  She giggles at the thought and exits.  My cousin finishes his cigarette, rolls another and lights it.

If I were a betting lady I would have lost all the money and the clothes on my back if six months ago I’d wagered my holidays would be spent like this.

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This totally fucking blows.  Here I am sitting in my aunt's apartment on Friday night hoping that someone will call me so we can go out and I can forget for maybe a few hours how sorry my situation is.  I am having a really fucking hard time with egolessness, with nonaggression, with anything that has to do with loving kindness.  I hate this.  I hate this.  I hate this.  I hate myself and I feel like I want to die.  I want my old life back with you.  I want happiness back in my heart.  I'm tired of crying, tired of trying to get better. I am hanging on by a thread.  For Christ's sake I feel like I want somebody to just cut it.  "Get rid of me," I say.  Throw me in a dumpster.  I'm done.

Things that I want to ask you:

Was it worth it to you?

Is this what you were hoping for?

Things that I want to ask God:

Did Adrian die so that I may be exposed as a wretched thing?

Was that the plan?

I was a child once.  I've seen photos.  I had a little heart and little feet while everything around me was big big big.  Along the way I learned to yell, swear, cut myself, do drugs, and break things.  There were moments of hope.  Things that came in the forms of love, acceptance and approval.  There were moments when life felt good.  You had your hand in that but you also drove a stake through my heart.

I feel like an underdog sometimes.The life of an underdog.  Acceptance is always fleeting.And you who loved me like no one ever had.  I was your world.  You loved me.  You saint.  Of course you die.  Of course you die in my city, under my watch, in my care.  These are how the stories of underdogs go.

I know this is violent.  I feel violent.  There is violence everywhere.  I actively contribute to the destruction of things.  I live because I don't deserve to die.  Here is your tragic bride, cursed walker of the Earth, envious of your freedom from me.

booted butterfly screenshot 03

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We will always be young together.  Forever and ever, you and I will be young lovers.
No other memories will exist.  We will always have supple bodies, active minds, the thrill of youth—

you and I.

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I'm sitting in the basement kitchen.  It's cold and there is snow on the ground outside.

I'm eating a pasta salad and waiting for my water to boil.

14 hours later.

I'm sitting in the basement kitchen.  It's cold and there is less snow on the ground outside.

I'm roasting beets on the stove top.

20 minutes later.

I'm sitting in the basement kitchen.  Drinking a cold beer.

I'm waiting to turn the beets.

35 minutes later.

I'm sitting in the basement kitchen.  I'm waiting to turn the beets again.

The cold beer in my mug is gone.

I cup my eyes with my left hand and release an audible sigh.

68 minutes later.

I'm sitting in the basement kitchen.  I just ate some roasted beets with caramelized onions and feta.

I am drinking a cold beer.

48 hours later.

I'm sitting in the basement kitchen.  I'm waiting for the lentils to boil.

The sound of a basketball is heard in the distance.

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Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.

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I am happy.

I know it seems like I've been miserable for a while,

but I have to be completely honest

I am so happy.

I've never been happier.

My grin is about to explode into madness.


My heart is racing.

My mind is quaking.

I'm overcome with joy.

The room is filled with stars and music.

Inside I am dancing.


You've heard it here first.

Happiness abounds in my heart!

It is worth celebrating.

This means something.

I love me.

booted butterfly screenshot 05

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Despite the missing set of gems

my curved figure and neotenic breasts

despite dresses and the gestures of my sex

I find myself in the company of kings.

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I think I know why I write you publicly.  It humbles me.  Keeps me honest.

It's a form of public penance.  Like church.  This is how I commune with you.

A sort of ancestor worship.

I like that I can go back and change what I write.  It feels like you and I are working on a solution together.  I like that I can go back in time and edit the past.

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Plasma beings. Wizards. You.

Three years ago this night you

entered the metaphysical realm

of all things beyond comprehension.

Stay close to me.

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the body of this baby lies before you

let's call him the weight of the world

the sigh of the sea

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it goes without saying

this is not fun

i never imagined we'd spend this day

not spending it all

i could write about your beauty

your talents

the gift the world lost

but why bother

it makes no difference

there is nothing to celebrate

this day is a ghost

it is a damaged day

let me close my eyes

i see your slender hands

they are assembling a bouquet of weeds

you are smiling looking up at me

i take your picture

a group of misfits pass us on the old train tracks

it is a beautiful day

we put your flowers in a discarded sneaker

i take a picture

it was a perfect day

it's sad

that a moment such as this

would become so precious

so rare in the grand scheme of things

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Indulging in you

is impossible.

It is the opposite of celebration.

I cannot sit on thoughts of you for too long

as your absence

and the memory of your presence

mixed together

produce overwhelming sorrow.

There is nothing I could do that would

make me feel good

when it comes to you.

All experience is laced with hurt

with longing

with where the fuck are you?

booted butterfly heading 15

Adrian, tell me:

How am I capable of sitting in this chair for this many hours without getting any significant work done? Am I destined to always be this unfocused and distracted? Should I get an Adderall prescription? I took an ADHD test online once and passed with flying colors. I don’t need an Adderall prescription- maybe just a drug dealer and a book about time management.

I do not want to waste my life. Am I wasting my life? I’m not wasting my life.

I want to know what I should be doing. I know what I’m doing.  I’m doing it.

Be an angel will ya?

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* booted butterfly is a document of grief, progress, and everything in between.

All words dedicated to the late-great Adrian Cervantes Mejia. acmfund.org

Photo booth screen captures created December 3, 2014 for Infinite Mile

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