This is an essay I wrote in June 2010, right after my husband and I got engaged. It our TRUE love story, and I wanted to share it with all of you.
A butterfly flapped her wings…
According to Wikipedia the phrase Butterfly Effect “refers to the idea that a butterfly’s wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado or delay, accelerate or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in a certain location. The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale alterations of events (compare: domino effect). Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different. While the butterfly does not “cause” the tornado in the sense of providing the energy for the tornado, it does “cause” it in the sense that the flap of its wings is an essential part of the initial conditions resulting in a tornado, and without that flap that particular tornado would not have existed”.
There are many seemingly random events that shape our lives and bring us to each point in journey at the exact moment we are supposed to be there. However, it is rare that you can look back at a moment in time and realize that one unrelated incident was in part responsible for bringing you to where you are. I have recently been able to look back and actually see the butterfly that flapped it’s wings to bring me to the happy point I am at today.
Many years ago when I was a junior in high school I had to have a surgery that caused me to be out of school for nearly half a year. This caused me to have to take both Junior and Senior English my Senior year. However, my school had decided not to allow that anymore, so when I started school my final year I was told I would not be able to graduate until I took Senior English in summer school. This meant I would not be allowed to walk through the line with my class at graduation.
For me, this was devastating news. I had been very proud that I was going to be the first of my MiMi’s children and grandchildren to graduate high school. Even though I still would have gotten my diploma, the act of walking across the stage in a cap and gown was a moment I didn’t want to miss, and it was very important to my family. So, after I came home crying, my mother went up to the school to straighten things out. I am still not sure what was going on in the vice principals office, but I think my mother was on the verge of pulling me from school and taking me to another county.
I was sitting in the office bawling my eyes out when a teacher I had seen around but did not know asked me why I was crying. I gave her a slightly hysterical version of my situation. She said, “don’t worry I’ll take care of it”. She then marched into the VP’s office, (I don’t think she even knocked). I don’t know exactly what happened, because I was on the other side of the door but my mother later told me that the teacher gave the VP “what-for”. When the VP said there wasn’t room an any of the Senior English classes for me she apparently told him something to the effect of “she will be in my first period class tomorrow, and if there isn’t a chair for her then she will sit in the floor, and if there isn’t a book for her then she will share mine”. And that seemed to be the end of the argument. (Whether or not this happened this exact way…who knows. My memories could be clouded with the years, and my mother’s reports may have been off…but this is what I perceived to have happened.)
The next morning I did indeed report to Mrs. Elaine Meadows’ first period class. There was a seat for me, right in the front row, directly in front of her desk. The night before, Mama had told me I needed to work extra hard in Mrs. Meadows class and not disappoint her after the trouble she went to for me. So I did. And in that class my love of writing, which was there but buried, blossomed. And while being in Mrs. Meadows class helped me in many ways to get where I am professionally, that is not the set of events her actions set into play to bring me where I am.
That seat in that first period English class was right next to a skinny, shy, sweet, artistic dark haired boy with a mullet. I talked to that boy all year, even had a small crush on him. He talked back, even drew a picture for me once, but never really noticed me that much. He was much too shy. We had many of the same friends, yet had never met before that class. At the end of the year we signed each other’s year books, and I inscribed “Love ya, Your Lil’ English Buddy” in his.
Then we graduated and that was that. Many times over the next 17 years I would see that drawing in my memory book from high school and wonder what ever had happened to that dark haired boy with the hazel eyes and soft voice.
Then on New Year’s Eve 2009 I had a bit of a mid-life crisis and began to look through the alumni for my high school on Facebook. And what do ya know…there was that dark haired boy. I friend-requested him and after looking me up in his yearbook, to my great surprise, he accepted my request. A few weeks later we were both online at the same time and he messaged me. We talked more than four hours that night.
Now, five months later I am planning my wedding to the most wonderful man I have ever met. The mullet is long gone and the hair is sprinkled with silver, but his eyes are still the same beautiful hazel and his voice is still soft and sweet.
I have never, in my entire life, been happier, and I can go back and pinpoint the day that started all of it…the day a sweet English teacher took up for an hysterical teenager she had never met.
Where ever you are Mrs. Meadows….THANK YOU!