Random fiction: Stone and Butterfly

“Stone and Butterfly” was written quite quickly after the first sentence popped into my head. I hope you enjoy it! The original Afrikaans version can be found on INK or beneath the English translation. You can also check out my Instagram feed (I’m @CarinMarais1) to see how these look in my 2018 journal.

Stone and Butterfly


I painted the stone with the wrinkles of your face with chisels, hoping that it would come alive, hoping that it would bring you back to me. Laughter lines lie shallow in the marble. How many years have they been there, I wonder. The three deep wrinkles that lie horizontally on your brow are more difficult to etch into the rough, dense stone without making you look angry. I leave your eyes till last. After I’ve formed your mouth and nose my fingers linger over the tools, my eyes focused on the empty spaces that will soon be given life. That won’t hesitate to flit away from me like butterflies.


Some people believe that the soul, after someone’s death, lives on in the form of a butterfly. Something does happen during metamorphoses, after all, that is just too out of this world, too holy.

I walk through the garden, past the small, white, flitting butterflies, past the yellow ones that hover above the flowers and follow the wind, and wait to see you. I know how you’ll look – not just white or yellow. Your spirit will be sketched in a rainbow on wings with large blue eyes.

It is nearly dark when I go back home, alone. You are sitting on one of the orange nasturtium flowers that grow by the front door and slowly, slowly open and close, open and close your newly found wings as if the false blue eyes on are winking at me.


Here’s the original Afrikaans version…

Klip en skoenlapper


Met beiteltjies verf ek die klip met die plooie van jou gesig en hoop dat dit sal lewendig word, hoop dat dit jou na my sal terugbring. Lagplooitjies lê vlak in die marmer. Hoeveel jare sit hulle nie nou al daar nie, wonder ek. Die drie diep plooie wat horisontaal op jou voorkop geëts is, is baie moeiliker om in the ruwe, digte klip vas te vang sonder om jou kwaad te laat lyk. Ek los jou oë vir laaste. Nadat ek jou mond en neus gevorm het, weifel my vingers bo die gereedskap, my oë stip op die leë kolle wat binnekort lewe sal kry. Wat nie sal huiwer om soos skoenlappers van my af weg te dartel nie.


Party mense glo dat die siel, ná iemand se dood voortleef in die vorm van ’n skoenlapper. Iets gebeur tog tydens metamorfose wat net-net té buitewêrelds, té heilig is.

Ek stap deur die tuin, verby die klein wit, fladderende skoenlappers, verby die geles wat so windlangs oor die blomme sweef, en wag om jou raak te sien. Ek weet hoe jy sal lyk – nie net wit of geel nie. Jou gees sal in die kleure van die reënboog op vlerke met groot blou oë geskets wees.

Dis byna donker toe ek, alleen, terug huis toe keer. Jy sit op een van die oranje kappertjieblomme wat by die voordeur groei en maak jou nuutgevonde vlerke stadig-stadig oop-en-toe, oop-en-toe asof die vals blou oë daarop vir my knipoog.


Categories: Fiction, Writing

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