One touch and the delicate wing was destroyed. A few seconds Vanya was curiously examining a little one-wing butterfly, trembling in the wind. Quickly losing interest, he threw it on the grass and ran to the other children. It was the law of nature, a game of survival.
Vanya’s father was a serious man. His big black car, grim expression and commanding voice meant that he was a big boss. Vanya saw his dad sometimes in the evenings and occasionally during holidays. The seven-year-old boy was very proud of his father, and even his mother often fell silent in father’s presence. They lived in a nice house outside the city, went with mother to the warm sea to rest and were quite happy, in general. Until the changes came.
One day father came home earlier than usual and immediately went to his office. A few minutes later some strangers arrived, exchanged a few words with father and began to carry things out of the house. Hiding behind the corner, Vanya saw as things were packed in big trucks: furniture, appliances, dishes and everything. Suddenly mother silently took Vanya’s hand and led him into the house. Big bag with his clothes and toys was already packed. In 10 minutes he and his mother were sitting in a beautiful long car with a driver, and familiar outlines of the house disappeared forever.
They settled in a country where everything was different. Well, almost everything. Their home was just as beautiful as before, and father didn’t come home more often than usual. But people were talking in a foreign language, and it took many days for Vanya to understand it get at least a little. But time passed, and Vanya got used to the new conditions. Fairly quickly he made new friends with whom he ran across the lawn after butterflies.
Six or seven years have passed. One day at school, on usually boring history lesson the teacher suddenly started talking about the country whose name was very familiar for Vanya. During the years, the boy repeatedly asked his mother why they have left their country, but each time he received unclear answers about difficult times or bad people. Now, with a lump in his throat, he had to listen to a very different story. The teacher told about a political revolution, great embezzlement, corruption and hundreds of officials who ran away abroad. She said that the country was left without a penny by those who managed it, she talked about war, thousands dead, devastated manufacturing, communications, roads, ruined destinies of millions of people. The class was unusually quiet. Then someone asked, whether the perpetrators were punished. The teacher smiled sadly and looking somewhere past Vania, said: “Everyone has his own destiny, and his own punishment.”
On this day Vanya did not go home with others. Did someone of his classmates know about his origins? It wasn’t clear, but it seemed to him that he caught dozens of strange glances in his direction after the lesson. Hiding eyes and burning with incomprehensible shame, he hurried home alone. He knew that his life would not be the same.
Left alone in the classroom, history teacher thoughtfully folded students’ notebooks when came across a familiar name. A painful picture appeared in her head: tongues of fire in the windows of her home, hunger, injury and death of her brother, the tears of her old mother, emigration. It was so long ago but like yesterday … She saw how Vania’s face changed after her story. Poor boy! He will learn a lot more unpleasant things about his family. And she was genuinely sorry for him.
Summer sun gently warmed the beautiful coastal city in the evening. People joked, laughed and ate pizza in the cafes, discussing the latest news. And somewhere very far away, in a country exhausted by a long war, destroyed houses stood alone, left by their inhabitants forever.