She was a young woman who had never fished before. Not a stranger to lake sides, she had dozens of people stand and wait for a catch. The art of fishing appealed to her, so she asked her father if they could give it a try sometime. It made her father happy to see that the young woman shared his interest, so he agreed.
The young woman was quick and constantly on the move. Her eyes widened as her father prepared for their trip. She watched with interest as he brought out two slender poles with lines trailing off of them.
Her father smiled as he fiddled with the hooks.
“We will go to the lake tomorrow morning when the waters are still.”
“Thank you,” she answered brightly, shifting in her chair from the excitement.
The next morning, the father had packed several lures, two fishing poles, spare hooks, and two apples.
“We’re ready,” he said with a grunt as he propped the door open with his foot.
“Alright, dad!” the young woman replied as she sped out.
Just a few miles away from the house was a wide lake. It was surrounded by large trees on all sides, and its waters gleamed in the morning light.
Pulling an aged rowboat to the mouth of the lake, the father prompted the young woman to get inside. Stretching to touch the cattails, she felt the currents tugging at the boat.
“Hop in!” she cried as the little boat threatened to leave her father on the shore.
Quick on his feet, her father stepped into the little vessel. At his weight, the boat violently rocked back and forth, making the young woman nervous.
The father smiled as he held an oar in his hands. More reassured, his daughter returned the gesture. They rowed the small boat until they were near the center of the lake.
The young woman looked at her reflection in the water, blurred from the winds that stirred its surface.
“Take this,” the father said as he handed the young woman a fishing pole.
“You sure we won’t kill any fish with the hook? It looks pretty sharp” the young woman asked him. That was the last thing she wanted, blood on her hands.
“Don’t worry. We won’t,” her father replied surely.
After several moments of silence, the young woman spoke.
“Can I stick some bait to the hook?”
“Naturally,” he replied, tossing her a green lure.
“Now, just throw the line in the water.”
Surprised by the simplicity of it all, the young woman cast her line into the water. Shortly after, her father did the same.
The young woman was excited. Accustomed to books and writing, this was her first time in the real outdoors. She could just imagine her line going taught from the weight of a bulky fish. Excited by her luck, she would pull on her pole with all of her strength until that fish was forced to leave the water. Once it was done flopping about, she would admire its gleaming scales as it sputtered on the deck. And shortly after, she would toss it back into the water.
The proud picture was very clear in the young woman’s mind. Except something was amiss. After hours of patiently waiting with her father, no fish tugged on her line.
“Why aren’t any of them coming?” the young woman groaned.
“Maybe the fish are on another side of the lake. We just have to wait,” the father replied with his jaw set.
Then something miraculous happened. The young woman felt something heavy at the end of her line.
“Dad, I think I’ve got something!” she yelled gleefully.
“Well, pull!” her father replied just as enthusiastically.
The young woman tugged at the line with all of her strength, feeling the fish fighting against the currents.
“It’s a big one!” she let out through clenched teeth.
About to lose her weakening grip on the pole, she gave the line one last pull when something broke from the water’s surface.
It landed on the deck with a firm thud and a sickening squelch.
Imagining terrifying images of gore pouring from the fish’s open wounds, the young woman was surprised, slightly relieved, and enormously dismayed by what she finally saw.
A worn leather boot, blackened from decay, had tipped over, spilling thick algae and colored debris on deck.
At a loss for words, the young woman dumbly stared at the ugly thing that she had caught.
“A boot!” her father cried with a burst of surprised laughter.
“Yes,” she replied shortly, examining the shoe with disgust.
“Y…you even caught it…all by yourself,” he choked out the words as he chortled away.
Sullenly looking at her catch, the young woman realized that fishing wasn’t as glorious as it was cut out to be.
“Oh well,” she thought sighing, “at least I didn’t kill anything.“