A N G E L . I N . C O U N T . H E R

“Rotten meat doesn’t have a color Daddy,” the young girl said.

She’d been hunting with her father all morning and had come across a decaying deer. He’d been unable to convince her to keep walking. She was intrigued by the life being fed in the deer’s stillness.

He’d not been paying attention to her curiosity, as he was more focused on the trail ahead.

“Isn’t rotten meat bad, Daddy?” she asked.

When he didn’t answer, she called his name again, “Daddy?”

He turned to look at her, “Yes, sweetheart?”

“Isn’t rotten mean bad? Won’t it make all the bugs and other animals sick?” she asked.

“No, hun. Animals don’t have the same digestive systems we have. What’s fool’s gold to us is a real treasure to them,” he answered.

She looked at him perplexed.

“Daddy, why did you call the deer fool’s gold?” she asked.

“Cause from far away a dead deer sometimes looks like a live deer, and not knowing the difference we might change course, simply on account of how things look,” he said.

“What about the bugs and animals?” she asked.

“What about them?” he responded.

“Is a live deer fool’s gold to them?’” she asked.

Her Dad laughed and scratched his head.

“That’s a good question, sweetheart. I don’t suppose anything is ever really fool’s gold to bugs and animals,” he answered.

“How come?” the girl asked.

“Cause everything dies, sweetheart. So whatever they choose to follow, starts off gold whether looking like it or not. Somewhere along the way nature turns it into a treasure that feeds them,” he explained.

“Are people like that too, Daddy?” she asked.

“I don’t understand your question, hun,” he said.

“Are all people gold, like the sculpture you have in your bedroom of Mama?” she asked.

He stared at her with tears in his eyes.

“No, sweetheart. Unfortunately, some people are always rotten. We were lucky to have mama, cause she wasn’t only gold from the beginning, but even after the end, she still shines as our angel,” he said.

The girl put down her shotgun and walked over to her father to hug him.

“I hope I get to be a golden angel like mama one day, too, Daddy,” she said while looking up at him with a smile.

“You already are, sweetheart. You already are,” he said, with tears streaming down his face.