"Daddy, look, it's a sunflower!"
The girl was holding a sunflower that had just started to bloom, smiling innocently.
Beside her, her father was packing up his fishing gear, getting ready to go out to sea for fishing.
"Yes, it's a beautiful sunflower, little peach, take good care of it."
The sunflower still had a lot of soil attached to its roots, and the scent of damp soil filled the entire small wooden house.
The little girl carefully placed the sunflower on the only table in the house and skillfully helped her father pack up the fishing gear.
"Daddy, when the sunflower bears seeds, can you come back earlier? Little peach wants to eat sunflower seeds with mommy and daddy."
"Of course, your mommy's favorite flower is the sunflower."
Amu wiped his sweat with the towel around his neck and touched the little girl's head.
On the table, there was a photo of mommy holding a sunflower, wearing a straw hat, looking happy like a child. The girl's sunflower was also placed next to it.
Next to the messy fishing gear, there was a basket of cheap wine. The little girl took out a bottle from it and put it in her father's backpack.
The fireplace in the house flickered, as if it could go out at any moment.
The little girl seemed lost in thought but hesitated to speak.
Amu knew what the little girl was thinking with just one glance. He put the fishing gear by the door and squatted down to look at the little girl.
"Trust daddy, those wines are used by daddy to ward off evil spirits. I have been keeping our promise with mommy, see, every time I come back, the bottles are always full, right?"
Amu was lying, and the little girl knew it because when he left, the bottles contained wine, but when he came back, they were filled with water. But she still nodded, indicating that she believed her father because the little girl knew that the wine could make her father less sad.
The firewood in the fireplace was almost burned out, and the small wooden house became dim. The little girl was afraid of the dark and didn't want her father to go fishing. She wanted to go back to the time when her mother hadn't disappeared yet. She wanted to sit by the fireplace and watch her father draw.
"Daddy, the radio just said there will be a storm today, so don't go fishing, okay?"
The little girl was also lying.
Outside, the sky was clear.
Amu knew what the little girl wanted to say, and he choked up.
"Then let's finish early today and come back to help little peach plant sunflowers."
Little Peach ran over and sat properly at the table.
Amu smiled reluctantly and left.
Outside, the weather was sunny, perfect for fishing. Amu put the fishing gear on the boat, jumped on it, untied the ropes, and rowed towards the deep water area where there were the most fish.
Just as he cast the net, raindrops started to fall. At first, it was drizzling, but soon it turned into thunder and lightning, with strong winds. The rain soaked everything, and Amu, who hadn't had a haircut for a long time, looked like a homeless man. He regretted not listening to the little girl's words and worried that the thunder would scare her. So he packed up the net, ready to quickly return to shore and go home.
The small boat was being pounded by huge waves, rocking between the sky and the earth, as if it could be submerged at any moment. Amu tightly held the oar and rowed hard. He had already lost track of where the shore was and where the sea was. The raised plank scratched a long cut on Amu's arm, and he was thinking about how to explain it to the little girl. The fish he had just caught was washed away by the waves, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't hold onto the net.
The boat capsized, and the waves carried Amu. The bitter and salty seawater made it impossible for him to breathe. The bottle of wine that the little girl gave him was floating in front of him in the waves.
Amu felt a deathly coldness, so he grabbed the bottle in front of him and drank the seawater. His brain became hazy, but he felt a warm sensation like death. He seemed to see his wife and daughter in the sunflower field, with his wife painting and his daughter watching.
Amu was almost awakened by the dazzling sunlight. It seemed that he had been washed ashore by the sea. He raised his hand but felt like something was missing. He struggled to stand up, and in front of him was the weather station on the other side of the small island. It seemed that the waves had taken him on a big circle.
There was a red notice posted in front of the weather station:
"Today, there will be a heavy rainstorm. It is not suitable for going out to sea."
Amu smiled bitterly, regretting not listening to the little girl's words.
His heart was filled with worry, afraid that something had happened to the little girl.
So he picked up the scattered fishing gear and held it in his arms, step by step, walking towards home.
Meanwhile, the little girl at home was cowering in a chair, holding her mother's photo, waiting for her father to return.
Outside the window, the thunder and lightning continued.