Sunday, March 18, 2007

The fishing trip


He sat in the shade of the tree as the sun began its dip toward night. He fumbled with the line, spooling it around and around, and up the shaft of the rod.

It was the first time he had been to the lake since the fall. It felt good. He became rejuvenated here, alone with his thoughts.

He hadn't seen her since just after Thanksgiving, and then it had been but a glimpse. He'd thought about those eyes throughout the winter. It kept him warm.

If he were honest with himself, he'd tell you he missed her, longed to hear her soothing words. As it were, he said nothing, content to thread his line.

After awhile, he rose and walked to the lake. He sat his tackle on the edge of the rock and took his place near the water. A squirrel jumped between trees. Off in the distance, a dog barked.

He grabbed a nightcrawler out of the Styrofoam bowl, tore it into and put half on the hook. He casted.

Three minutes later, he saw the bobber dance.

He jerked back on the line, felt the familiar tug. The fish struggled, but he held firm and began reeling.

As the line came closer to the bank, he saw the bluegill. Small, sleek, deceptively so. He relaxed; it was a mistake.

The fish twisted and thrashed. He felt the line break, knew he'd been bested. He watched the flash of blue jump, then disappear. When he reeled the last of the line in, only the hook remained.

He put the rod to the ground and watched the sun dip below the horizon. The pink sky faded to black.

Returning to the camp site, he threw a couple of logs on the fire and made supper. The night was cold.

He lit a cigar and stared at the darkness. Later, his thoughts turned to what had evaded his grasp.

It was not the fish.


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