The three stars on the flag represent the three different land forms in This State. Mountains in the east, highlands in the middle and lowlands in the west. On the flag these regions are bound together in an unbroken circle. The field is crimson with a blue background for the stars. The final blue strip relieves the sameness of the crimson field and prevents the flag from showing too much crimson when it is limp.
Where am I ?
next installment of short story The Fishing Day (only one more left!):
A butterfly drifts between them and the father first thinks it is a leaf. For as beautiful and graceful as the creature is, it seems to fly haphazardly, as if the wind lifts the wings in one direction and the next, pushing the light body where it does not want to go. Yet the butterfly gets to its destination despite the breeze. It lands on the father’s head and the daughter laughs, pointing at it, her other hand held over her mouth. She looks the same. But nothing will be the same ever again. He cannot force time to his will. The butterfly leaves the man, glides to a clover, and is still.
“Daddy? Do you want to know now?”
“I don’t know if I’m ready.”
“Have I told you that I love you more than life itself?”
“Lots of times.”
The father is not sure if she is telling the truth. He remembers her disappointed looks when he came home late from work again and again. Sometimes she had already been sleeping, her face cleared of his mistakes. The man remembers every error, the biggest of them he hides behind the smaller ones.
The father says, “I’m sorry I was so angry when you broke my baseball trophy. That stupid trophy I got in junior high school.” He runs his fingers through his hair and the ends stand up from the fish slime still sticky on his hand. “How could I have become so angry with you over such silly things?” He has difficult time breathing and it feels as if his feet are sinking in the soft soil. He imagines if he stands here long enough, he will simply disappear into the earth.
“You already told me you were sorry, remember?”
The father does not hear her. He stares into the light of the sun, blinking into his blindness.
“You’re a good doctor, Daddy, and good doctors are busy.”
The father becomes agitated, gesturing in the air, reaching towards her and pulling back. He says to himself, “All those hours.” And he does not know if it is the lost ones or the ones to come that he is most sorry about.
“People worry about things that don’t really matter. It’s silly.” She bends down and plucks three clover flowers, smells them, and then puts them in her pocket. “I did stupid stuff. Like when I told you to get out of my room when you were only trying to say hello. It was that day Kelly called me a name and we weren’t best friends anymore. I was mad at Kelly, but I yelled at you.” The daughter turns her attention to the shadows lengthening across the pond.
The father follows her gaze, silent a moment before he says, “The day you needed me most I was helping that little boy.” He watches a bird fly into the willow and disappear. “Your mother paged me, and I ignored her.”
“But you came. I smelled your soap when you bent over me and put the stethoscope on my chest. It made me feel safe.”
“Oh god.” The man puts his head in his hands and sobs, wide thin shoulders shaking. He lifts his head. “I’ve wanted to tell you these things for so long.”…. continued to ending tomorrow…