He was going to put a stop to all their fun because he wasn’t a nice person, at least not at this time. He used to be, but that was before. Now he just couldn’t stand to see anyone having fun, especially running around in the yard trying to catch butterflies in the net that the girls so much enjoyed doing. To him, butterflies were big nuisances and he was probably the only one in the world who thought that way. The girls had no idea that he thought that way. Everyone else loves butterflies so who would have thought…
Carly and Merilyn ran about in the backyard, the butterfly nets dangling from their fingertips. The giggled as they chased the pretty white butterfly about the yard. They never hurt the butterflies because they knew that if they touched the pretty creatures the oils from their hands would kill the butterflies. They just enjoyed running about the yard and trying to catch them, just like ten-year old girls do. It was fun for them. They told ghost stories to each other as they ran after the butterflies. They were having so much fun. The time passed quickly. Soon it was time for Merilyn to go home. Her mother was at the door. Carly waved goodbye to Merilyn and went in the house. She didn’t know that the mean man, Mr. Goldiniver was watching as Merilyn’s mother’s car drove up the hill and out of sight.
He frowned as a huge wrinkle creased across his forehead. “No more butterflies.” He mumbled and went in his house and slammed the door behind him. “Not one more.”Carly helped her mother make dinner. All the while she told her mother about her day at school. She told her what she had learned and how much fun she had with Merilyn when they were chasing after the butterflies after school. “Mom, can Merilyn come over again tomorrow if it is nice? Please?”
“Well that would be fine if that is alright with her mom. The weather is so nice and you two have a lot of fun together. Sure, that would be fine.”
Carly gave her mom a hug. “Love you, mom. I’ll call Merilyn after dinner and ask her to check with her mom.” “How much homework do you have?”
“Just a couple of things to do. We didn’t get too much homework tonight, so it shouldn’t take me long.”
“Okay, call your dad and your brothers and tell them it’s time to eat.” Her mother started to put the dishes around the table. Soon the whole family was sitting down for dinner and they were all talking about what they learned that day. What a happy family and that was how it always was. They didn’t know that Mr. Goldiniver was planning something for them all. Something that wasn’t going to be very nice, because remember, Mr. Goldiniver was mean. Not always, but he was now and he didn’t want Carly and her family to be happy. He didn’t like the butterflies.
Mr. Goldiniver sat at his table eating his dinner meal. He was grumpy and thinking of what he was going to do. Tomorrow he had to make up his mind. He had to decide what he was going to do. If he had to stay in town then he sure wasn’t going to live like he was anymore. With all that he wanted and didn’t get out of life, the last thing he wanted was to let other people be happy. The food didn’t taste good to him and he dumped it into the garbage can. He had to make his plan and fast. Things were going to change and very soon. He went to the window and pulled back the drapes. There on the corner he could see the Marsik’s house. He watched it for a while and sighed. Then, he let the drapes fall back into place. “No more butterflies.” He mumbled again and shook his head.
School began on a real positive note for Carly. She received A’s on her spelling and math tests. The day progressed well and she really liked all her teachers. They taught her so much. In art class they made some wonderful crafts and then it was time to go to her house and play out in the yard. The weather was beautiful in Hartford, CT. There was lots of blue sky and sunshine. It was the perfect day for Carly and Merilyn to play in the yard and run after the butterflies. They could barely wait to get to Carly’s house so they could run about the yard.
“Hi mom.” Carly ran to her mother and kissed her cheek.
“Hi Mrs. Marsik. How are you?” Merilyn smiled at her.
“Hi, did you two have a good day at school?”
“Yes. We did.” Carly put her things down and went to get the butterfly nets. “Can we go out and play?”
“Yes, go ahead.”
“Come on Merilyn. Here you can wear the red butterfly necklace and I will wear the purple one.” She handed Merilyn the other butterfly necklace. The butterflies were attracted to the shiny parts of the necklace. “We will have butterflies flying all around us today.”
“Good. I love butterflies!” Merilyn jumped up and down. She put the necklace on. “Ready.”
“Lets go.” They ran about the yard, but for some strange reason, no butterflies came. Not one. They played for hours and did not see one. They had seen so many the day before, but no butterflies came around.
Carly led Merilyn to the front of the house and they sat on the porch. Carly had her head in her hands and she looked sad. “Merilyn, we didn’t see one butterfly today.”
“It’s okay, Carly. We’ll see them again sometime.” She put her arm around her friend.
Carly frowned. “They always come around. She looked around and down the street. Startled she nudged Merilyn’s elbow and pointed. “Look! There are a lot of butterflies down at Mr. Goldiniver’s house. Let me tell my mom were just going to run down there for a little bit.” She came back outside and the two girls walked down the street a few houses. She could see that Mr. Goldiniver’s white car was not in the driveway and that meant he wasn’t home.
“Wow, Carly, look at all the butterflies flying to the back of his house.”
“Lets just chase some back there real quickly and then go back to my house. I don’t feel too comfortable around Mr. Goldiniver’s house when he isn’t home.” Carly signaled for her friend to follow her to the back of the house. When they turned the corner they both stopped and stared. Mr. Goldiniver’s backyard was like a butterfly garden. There were butterflies all over the place. Their eyes opened wide as they looked at all of them. There were so many butterflies for them to see.
“Wow!” Carly was amazed.
“Wow! Wow!” Merilyn couldn’t believe her eyes, there were so many butterflies.
It was then that they heard the car door slam. Mr. Goldiniver moved quickly into his house. He stared at them through the back window and he looked very mean.Carly couldn’t move at first and then she waved to him. He didn’t wave back.
Carly looked at Merilyn and quickly said, “Lets go.” Before they could turn to leave he looked like he was going to come outside. The two girls were scared.
“Get out of my yard!” Mr. Goldiniver threw open the door and yelled at them.
At first Carly couldn’t say anything, but finally her mouth opened. “I’m sorry, Mr. Goldiniver, but the butterflies are so beautiful.” She pointed over at the corner of the yard, but the butterflies weren’t there anymore, the butterflies were gone.
“No butterflies!” He stared at the two girls. Carly and Merilyn were shocked that the butterflies had disappeared.
“Now! Get out of my yard!” This time he screamed louder at them and then went inside and slammed the door behind him. There weren’t any butterflies when he was outside. That is what always happened. He scared them away.
Carly and Merilyn ran as fast they could. Out of breath they threw open the door and ran to Carly’s mother. They told her what happened.
“Now, you shouldn’t have been in Mr. Goldiniver’s yard.” Her mother was puzzled about the butterflies disappearing when the man had come outside. “We’ll have to apologize to him another day. Merilyn, your mom will be here in ten minutes. Are you ready? Do you have all of your things?”
“Yes, Mrs. Marsik. Thank you for letting me come over to play with Carly.”
“You’re welcome.”Merilyn and Carly went back out on the front porch and looked at each other puzzled. “This was a very out of the ordinary day, Merilyn. Wonder why the butterflies disappeared as soon as he came out of his door?”
“I think it’s because he’s mean. He was mean to us.” Merilyn folded her arms in front of her. She looked at Mr. Goldiniver’s house out of the corner of her eye. “He’s really mean.”
Carly looked at the house. “He wasn’t always like that. Wonder why is so mean now?”Merilyn shrugged. “I also wonder why there were all those butterflies around and then not one.”
“I don’t know. There’s my mom. Thanks, Carly. See you at school tomorrow.”
“Okay. We’ll have to figure this out about the butterflies. See you.” She waved at Merilyn and watched her get into the car. After the car was out of sight Carly looked again at Mr. Goldiniver’s house. Puzzled about the butterflies she wanted to go back down there and see if they were still there. She was very curious, but she didn’t want him to get mad at her. Something was peculiar about the way he had been so mean. Last spring he was friendly to her and her family. What could have happened that he would have changed so much? Last year he just would have asked her to leave the yard, not scream at her like that.
The lousy mean Mr. Goldiniver had prepared for himself barely filled him up. He went to the window and pulled the drapes. He could see Carly staring at his house. “Darn kids and those butterflies!” He turned away and pulled out the photo album. The album was filled with pictures of his wife. A tear rolled down his cheek and onto the pictures. He had loved his wife and his wife had loved butterflies. They had a wonderful butterfly garden when he lived back in New Jersey. She had loved sitting among the butterflies as they flew around her head. Then, he moved to CT for a job transfer and settled in the same neighborhood as Carly’s family. That is when it started…the problems on the job and the problems with the butterflies in the spring and summer. Always the children could see the butterflies, but why couldn’t he? It happened with all the neighbors’ children, until he got so sick of it. Even his grandchildren saw the butterflies, but he couldn’t. His grandchildren hadn’t visited him in a long time and he missed them very much. More tears fell on the pictures. He hated to admit it, but in the last year, he felt really lonely.
Carly stood up with her arms crossed in front of her. She pouted at first and then thought that maybe she could get Mr. Goldiniver to let her mom see the butterfly garden in the back someday. It was so neat. She went into the house and ate her dinner. Afterwards she did her homework. Then, Carly decided she would write a note to him. An I’m sorry note to Mr. Goldiniver and she took out one of her favorite smiley cards and wrote. “Dear Mr. Goldiniver, I am sorry that I went in your yard to see the butterflies. Signed, Carly Marsik.”
“Mom, will you go with me tomorrow to give this to Mr. Goldiniver. I feel bad that he was so mad.” She showed her mom the card.
“That’s nice. We’ll go down tomorrow. Goodnight, sweetie.” She gave her a kiss and then she helped Carly get ready for bed.
All night long Carly dreamed of the butterflies and of Mr. Goldiniver being so mad. She hoped the card would help the next day and Mr. Goldiniver would not be so mean.
After school Carly and her mother went down to Mr. Goldiniver’s house and rang the doorbell. He was very angry when he opened the door and he just glared at them. When he saw the card in her hand he just closed the door again. Carly’s mother rang the doorbell again, but he wouldn’t answer. She opened the screen door and Carly put the card inside the door. Carly and her mother walked slowly back up the street and went inside.
“You did the right thing, Carly. He will read the card and not be mad anymore.”
After Carly was up in her bed, she could hear her mom talking to her dad.
“Jim, he was pretty ignorant today when we went to give him the card.” She told him what had happened.
“Well, Saralyn, I don’t know much about Goldiniver, but maybe he just doesn’t like visitors. Just leave it go.”
“It’s just odd that he would be like that. He never was before.”
“Try not to worry about it.”
Upstairs Carly tossed and turned in her bed until she finally fell asleep. Again she dreamt of the beautiful butterflies and wished she could see them again.
Mr. Goldiniver sat on his couch in his home. Every time he thought of something to do, something happened and he couldn’t figure out the next step. He stared at the card Carly had given him. It was on the coffee table in front of him. He wouldn’t open it. After a few moments he fell asleep sitting up on the couch. The card was left unopened in front of him. That is when it happened…