“You know you are crazy, right, Vova?” Venyamin sounded like he could blow me up anytime soon.
“Yeah, maybe a little crazy.”
“You’re the one who told me, there is only a thin chance of living and yet, you’re going? You seriously are going?”
“You are crazy. You have lost your mind. How about your wife? Your children? Have you not been thinking about them?”
I didn’t answer immediately. “I have,” I answered. “But I haven’t told them yet.”
“What about Yura?”
“No, I don’t think I will let him know about this plan. He won’t let me.”
You could say I was glad to be assured Yura would do the same thing if he were in my position. That feeling erased my doubt even more—I was more than happy to do this for a person who would put my life first before his.
After that, all I heard was scolds from Venyamin about how ‘dumb’ I was for a ‘genius’. From the window I could see Irina running in the garden with our hound, having the best time of her life. It hit me all of the sudden, another drop of tear slipped.
I cleared my throat, “Yes, Venya, I should get going.”
I hung up the call and walked out the room. My wife Valentina was in the kitchen, packing us some bread, biscuits, and bottled juice. We were going on a picnic.
I sneaked behind her back, trying to make zero sound. But she knew better and turned around just before I hugged her. “Being a sneaky little fox, aren’t you?” she giggled before planting a quick kiss on my lips. I cupped her rosy cheeks examining her features.
“What? What’s wrong?” she asked before looking away with cheeks even more flushed.
“There has to be anything wrong for me to admire your beauty?”
“Yeah, yeah,” she chuckled as I embraced her back as she continued preparing the basket. I rested my chin on her shoulder and inhaled deeply trying to memorize her sweet scent. It had always been my favorite—just the scent of jasmine with a little bit of apple, it was just right. And when I thought I was in my happiest moment, a tiny squeak approached us hastily, bringing me even more joy.
“Papa! Mama! Look! Babochka! I caught a butterfly!”
Irina showed us a clear jar with, indeed, a beautiful bronze butterfly with a light khaki gradient and black dots all over its wings was inside flying around a bit sheepishly wanting to be freed. “How pretty!” Valentina commented. “But you know what’s prettier? Seeing it flying free on our garden full of flowers.”
With Irina being happy with the suggestion, the three of us went out for our picnic not forgetting to set the rhopalocela to where it belonged. That was a very beautiful day I just wished to last forever.