He’d lined the walls with them, filled drawers, all preserved behind glass. Each one a trophy of his neglect and wrongly diverted passions. Each one a placard—no, a dedication to his lack of interest in our marriage. Memorial plaques to each dead day lost, sacrificed to his pursuits. I had grown to despise them. Foolish, I accept that now.
It didn’t take much. It’s quite amazing what a hammer and pent up rage can do, and the sound of shattering glass and splintering frames seemed to spur me on. Once I started, I just couldn’t stop. It was a most purgative of endeavours.
I see you hide your smile, not sure if it should be bemused, incredulous or sympathetic. It doesn’t matter. I don’t need anything from you. I now have all that I could have ever asked for.
Yes, I suppose there was more similarity between us than differences. It was hard not to see my face reflected in the glass of those framed homages to confinement when I dusted them: see my own existence as a thing caught and trapped. I did find them beautiful once. I admired them, so carefully catalogued, so neatly arranged, so diligently presented. But their continual state of enforced order soon eroded their beauty. It became a mockery.
Once liberated, I gathered them together…gave them a proper funerary ceremony, but even in that, I was bitterly mocked as they fluttered lifeless up on updrafts. It was the fire that caught your eye, wasn’t it? Yes, I wondered what brought you and your officers here. It’s funny, or maybe not, but when the pyre had incinerated his trophies, I had a moment of sublime enlightenment. Too late for his precious collection, but such is the way of things. However, the epiphany was abiding.
My husband? Yes, I’ll take you to him…because he can surely explain this better to you than I could, couldn’t he? He’s not far from here. Mind the glass and splinters as we go; I’ve been quite remiss in my duties.
You see, in that moment, I realised why he’d dedicated our lives—for both of us were consumed—to it. There was an immortality of sorts in his work. Those fortunate Lepidoptera plucked from a savage life that was only doomed would have stayed beautiful for…almost…ever. Content beneath glass, perfectly preserved, admired and loved, always there when an eye sought their comfort: static, unchanging….eternally loyal. All the things I craved.
Ah, here he is, my husband. I knew he'd clarify things for you. Isn’t he beautiful? Never changing, never fading, never flying away again. I’d watched him, helped him, with his collection, so this was always just a question of scale; the fence posts were ideal, if a little cumbersome to use, and of course, he’s a large specimen so required more than one pin. I don’t think they detract from his perfect state. All he needs now is a glass front. I think he’ll go lovely in the library.