Gut Rumbles

March 02, 2004

from the book

Matt had seen a lot of head-shrinkers in his life. After his suicide attempt, he knew more psychologists, psychiatrists and councils than he could count. Not a single one ever understood him, no matter how long he talked to them. Those "experts" didn't seem very expert to him.

One woman, who had a very nice set of legs, asked him one day, "Matt, what is the first memory you have in life?" Matt didn't have to think long about the answer.

"I caught a butterfly in my bare hands. I was probably three or four years old at the time, but I remember it clearly. I saw a big, yellow butterfly in mama's flower garden. I walked up to it, stuck out my hand and just picked it up by the wings. It held perfectly still for me.

"My mama was sitting in the front porch swing at the time, so I ran to show her what I had done. She told me that the butterfly was beautiful, but I would kill it if I kept holding on to it's wings."

"Let it go, Matt," she said.

"I let it go and it flew right back to the same flower where I caught it. I looked at my fingers and saw that they were golden. The butterfly had shared its color with me.

"Mama, look at my hand!" I exclaimed. "It's golden!"

"That's the butterfly colors. They'll go away."

She was right. The gold washed off, the butterfly (a Tiger Swallowtail) died and Matt never experienced such a magical moment again in his life. Once, when he was young, he had golden fingers.

But he never had them again.