A String, A Bait and A Little Boy

José Martinez walked down the winding dirt path; a stick rod in his muffin sized hands. His father Michéal walked down behind him holding the rest of the fishing equipment. José was angry; he wanted to stay at home and watch the morning cartoons but his father won’t let him. Mr.Martinez had been rather strict ever since little J got in that fist fight at school. It was one of the latest occurrences in the last few months.

It wasn’t that little J wasn’t smart; he was among the top in his class. He just had a lot of misplaced anger, after all, it’s hard to know what to do when at ten years old your mother left with most of your belongings. Michéal knew that what J needed right now wasn’t another lecture but a way to channel all that anger; all that frustration. So Mr.Martinez had settled on fishing; the weather was supposed to be clear.

It didn’t take them long before they had reached the fishing spot; plenty of other fishermen were there already. Little J and his father took a spot in front of the old rock, by the reeds. They both cast out their hooks and sat down waiting; waiting for the fish to bite.

Five minutes later and Jose was already restless; he shifted and squirmed where he sat. He was about to turn once more when he noticed that some of the fishermen had started packing up even without catching any fish.

A little while later it started drizzling and more fishermen packed up; apparently there was a small storm heading towards the lake and these fishermen wanted to be at home next to the warm fire. José nudged his father to go, he had finally found an excuse to go home but Michéal stood firm; eyes fixed on the lake and his bait.

It wasn’t long still it started pouring; and it was raining buckets. José had left his father at the riverbank, opting instead to stay in the car. He could hear the raindrops like bullets off the car’s roof. He wasn’t afraid but with the rest of the fishermen gone, José felt very alone as he waited for his father to come back.

The storm eventually passed after 30 minutes of torrential downpour and José mustered up the courage to come out of the car and walk back down to the riverbank. When he got there he was astounded; three of the biggest fish he had ever laid eyes on were in his father’s bucket. The old man was packing up his fishing rod; José’s had fallen into the river during the storm.

Throughout the drive back home Michéal only said one thing, “No matter how much rain falls, no matter how cloudy it gets, remember one thing. Fishes will only take bait in calm water. So sit down, and wait. Wait for the calm water.”

It has been twelve years since then. José, now twenty two, had managed to graduate from the university of his choice; Cambridge. Sure, there had been tough times; stormy times. But, like his father did all those years ago, he just held out for the calm water.

José threw out his hook and watched as the skies turned grey; they said it was going to be a bit stormy. The perfect weather for fishing.

The Icognito Writer: An old post from December 17, 2016.


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