I've seen nations can get rather attached to some of their prominent historical figures. This one's for Prince Paddy Roy Bates, founder of the Principality of Sealand, who passed away on 12 October, 2012, at the age of 91. I'm being totally serious. I know it's a week late, but I think his nation would have some thoughts on it.
I hoisted my flag at half-mast, letting it fly lower over the sea than usual. I sighed. We had designed it together, all those years ago. I remember when we declared our independence, how I thought that if America could do it, we could too! He and I had dreams for this. We'd break away, and become the greatest nation this earth had ever seen!
I'm ashamed to say this, but I almost didn't want to go on now. It didn't feel right to go on with out Roy.
I heard steps behind me. I turned. Our crowned prince Michael came up behind me. I hid my face from him, looking back over the Atlantic. I didn't want him to notice I was about to cry. I felt a warm hand on my shoulder and looked up to him.
"You doing alright?" he asked me. I nodded slowly, not wanting to let him know I wasn't.
"I owed him a lot, you know," I said to Michael. "I mean, without him, I wouldn't be here today!" I stopped talking, beginning to choke on the words.
"You and he were quite the dreamers," the prince said, shaking his head, a smile wanting to play on his lips. "You always believed it could happen."
I nodded again.
"You still believe it?"
"I…I don't know."
"It's difficult at first, I realize. Don't you forget he was my father and I miss him too. But things need to go on, alright? I'm not giving up on this if you won't."
"It won't be the same without him." I couldn't look at him anymore. In a way, Prince Roy was like my father, too. He was the family I always wanted, at least before I met Papa and Isä up north. But...perhaps it's always this way, with the first being the best?
Not that I didn't trust Michael to do the job as well as his father, but...
I guess it was just that.
"Well, nothing's quite the same under new management, but wishing him back won't make it happen."
"Why can't it work that way?" Here I entered the stage of grief called "rage", or something of the sort. Michael reacted calmly; he didn't shout back, he just took me by the shoulders and looked me in the eyes.
"This is probably a good lesson for you. Now, I don't understand everything, but I can tell you that if you're going to be a great nation, you need to expect to go on far longer than any of your citizens could dream of living. You're going to lose people, and you can't stop it. I don't think it should stop you from getting close, because that will simply be a sad existence, not a life. But it can't be a shock when they're gone."
I still couldn't look at him. I stopped fighting tears and let them fall shamefully down my face.
"You had mentioned you owed him."
I looked up at Michael.
"Then for him you need to make his dream a reality. I'll work with you as closely as I possibly can to achieve the original image my father had all that time ago. For that, you need to trust me. I need to trust you. And we'll make this happen." He held out his hand to me.
"Are you with me?"
I stared at it. I wasn't sure if I wanted to give allegiance to this new face. I had no choice, though. I shook it.
I went back to staring out across the ocean. He folded his arms and looked out with me.
"Tell me the vision."
"You know it," I said.
"What do you imagine, when you think of becoming a nation?"
I thought for a minute. The first things I thought of were my brothers, and how I'd finally be equal to them. How the other nations would stop treating me like a little kid who doesn't know what he's doing...well, maybe they wouldn't. But they'd at least have to listen to me! And I'd bring with me all my friends, give them recognition, even if no one else will. Then I'd work on expanding my land, my alliances. I'd have a navy, and more than twenty citizens!
"Those are some lofty plans!" he laughed beside me. I was much shorter then; he looked so big.
"I can do it!" I yelled. "I'll get bigger, and then we'll have our nation and our freedom! We can do what we want here!"
"Well..." Roy hesitated, "We will be able to. Here's something you have to understand, my boy. We're very alone out here. We need to work our way up."
"Will do!" I drew myself up to my fullest height (probably just over a metre) and gave him a salute.
"Are you sure you're ready for this?"
"Of course I am! I'm up for anything! We'll get this done! you can count on me! We'll have it done before the end of the decade!"
"We'll certainly try to!" He held out his hand. "Then an alliance is made between man and country." I took it with enthusiasm. The smile couldn't leave my face.
Or stay in the flashback. I couldn't help but laugh at the memory of him and me, drawing up our plans and beginning work on our sovereign state.
"I think of a promise I made a long time ago. One I have to keep for someone. That I will be equal to all of them out there! I have work that still needs to be done for him." The grin grew wider. "And..." I said as it fell, "I need your help and your vision of the nation, Prince Michael."
"This was my father's vision; I don't think he'd be too happy if I drove it into the ground. We have to keep to the original schematics. We have our plan; we just have to execute it."
"I know the plan. Between your memory and mine, we can still make this happen!" Our prince nodded at me and returned to the deck. I went to follow him. Just before, I turned and looked out at the ocean.
"I won't let you down, Roy. I promise."
And Isä is "father" in Finnish. Didn't feel right to call Finland "Mama", even in just a passing mention.