The Night of Sunflower Fields Forever


Have you ever noticed how many people provide you with very useful information when you no longer need it?

“Punch in the stomach, Clare, never the face, especially the jaw.”

“Ms. MacKay, do you have any idea just how fragile the human hand is? I guess you will now that your hand’s in a cast. You’ll need these pain pills.”

“Listen, honey, I never hit. All kindsa damage can be done to the hand. I kick. That’s what I do. Go right for the ball sack. Goal!”

Twenty-four hours after the Tansy-engineered drama at Remington’s, I’m sitting in my apartment curled up on the sofa with Shandy when there’s a knock at the door. I look through the peep-hole and all I see are sunflowers, a huge bouquet of sunflowers. Figuring that it could be Dominic, I almost don’t want to open the door, but then know that the noise would just upset Meredith, my elderly neighbor, who already complains constantly about Shandy.

I open the door and the flowers slowly lower and there’s Phil. Phil?

He grins at me, his bright blue eyes dancing. “I bet you weren’t expecting me.”

“I bet you’re right. Why are you here?”

“To bring you these,” he says, pointing to the flowers. “And to see how you are. You really bashed your hand into Dominic’s jaw. You know, that’s probably the worst place to hit someone on the whole human body. That and the skull. It’s a good thing you weren’t aiming for his skull.”

“Why’s that? I would have broken my hand?” I ask, holding up my papier mached hand.

“Yeah, seriously. Are you doing okay?”

I nod. “Thanks for the flowers.”

“My pleasure. Do you want to go out sometime?” he asks.

I wince, not because of pain, but because of the question. Do you know if you have to get a written application to join a convent or can you fill it in online?

“I don’t know, Phil.”

“My name’s not Phil.”

I squint at him. “Last night you reminded me that your name is Phil.”

“Well, that’s what the guys call me. I started working on February 2 and I’ve got this slight overbite so they thought it would be funny to call me Phil. You know, like the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, because the second is Groundhog Day?”

“I see.” I think I need more pain pills.

“But I’m Bob. Robert Murphy. Almost first generation Irish. My dad owns Flannagans.”

I raise an eyebrow. “Why did he call it Flannagans and not Murphys?” I ask and then realize I may not want to know the answer.

“Because Murphys already exists and he doesn’t own it.”

“Yeah, that’s a problem.”


I shake my head. “So, what?”

“A date?”

“I don’t know, Phil…Robert…Bob. I’m not sure if this is a great time.”

He nods. “You have unfinished business with Dominic?”

“Uh, no. That’s definitely finished.” It’s Damien who’s currently the issue and I’m not even sure that that’s true. In fact, under the gossamer tendrils of opiate care, I’m not certain what is true and pretty much don’t care.

“Then give me a chance. What do you have to lose?”

“You have a point. I no longer know the answer to that question.”


“Definitely not.”

He looks crestfallen. “Tomorrow? Thursday? Friday?”

I tell him my cell number. “Call me Thursday.”

He’s grinning as he punches my number in his phone. “Great. You won’t regret this.”

“You want to bet?” I wave an apology at him. “It’s the pain killers.” Not.

I close the door behind him and place the vase of sunflowers on the coffee table. Shandy sniffs at them and wags her tale. At least one of us is really, really happy about getting flowers from Phil…Robert…Bob. Right about now, I feel like the groundhog who’s been prodded out of its den when all it dreams about is sleeping through the winter.

end 9/27/2016

Sascha Darlington

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