I remembered how we talked about butterflies. I never thought he could look vulnerable, but sitting there across the table after I told him we were through, he reminded me of my childhood. It stung my heart thinking of all the little winged creatures I destroyed because they were beautiful, the once that didn't get away. He did. He was about to be released, and I was about to let him fly away from me. I wanted so badly to stop him, to cut his wings and make him stay with me, but he was never mine to keep. I couldn't own him without killing him, and for the sake of everything but myself, I knew I could never do that. So I set him free.
I tried to keep calm, but realizing what was about to happen made me shiver. It was the strangest sensation, I wanted to scream out loud or break into little pieces or just about anything, but my whole system was paralyzed. I cried silently and said I can't feel anything. He took my hand in his, felt my pulse and said, smiling:
...but at least you're alive.