The Butterfly & The Snail by Mary Sullivan Esseff
A tenor’s voice, passionate and pure, draws shy Rebecca Butler into the Studentenheim’s crowded social room. Finished singing, Khalil Khoury notices her sitting alone, joins her, then notices no one else. Georgetown University’s 1964 summer program opens; Salzburg’s magic begins.
The Butterfly & The Snail interweaves several heartfelt encounters, creating a fabric of love and intimacy that transforms their lives forever. On one outing, Rebecca loses her footing and tumbles down Untersberg Mountain. Khalil risks his life-and almost loses it-to save Rebecca from falling off the peak. Two days later, Rebecca discovers a newborn butterfly and then spies a snail picking its way up the path. These creatures come to symbolize this couple’s extraordinary relationship. Relaxing on Gaisberg’s hillside, Rebecca reveals the turmoil she’s had to overcome to gain inner peace. Yet, she confesses, her heart’s desire-love-has eluded her. When Khalil reacts with sympathy and compassion, she desires that powerful, mystical love radiating from within him. She asks, “How can I love like you?” His answer binds them together forever.
Six weeks later, the program ends. As Rebecca says good-bye, Khalil hands her an envelope: “Not to be opened until out of Salzburg.” Is this his auf Wiedersehen or the beginning of a deeper relationship? Discover if their magic continues beyond Salzburg.