Monday, April 19, 2010

The one that got away.

Castaway- 478
Stephen N. Dethrage

The arthritic fingers, sightless eyes, and wrinkled skin of the man on the edge of the pier tell passersby that he is not the young man he once was, but this does not bother him. He is here for the fishing, not the passerbys. He revels in each cast, each careful selection of his most precious lures. Although vision left him more than a decade ago, the smells and sounds of the lake are more than enough to keep him smiling soft and humming low, casting out and reeling in.

Every time he comes back to this place, he can't resist letting the memories of youth caress him like some sadistic angel or devil who teases and tempts, but dances away from his grasp each time he gives in and reaches out, hoping to take hold and be young again.

Today, he remembers love-- young love, and true love, and the sort of utopian love that Shakespeare and Lennon wrote about. He recalls his well rehearsed lines and practiced charms, not too much unlike the lures in his tacklebox and on his line, and how, always a fisherman, he tossed them to any girl who would bite. The hardest part of it all was dealing with the girls that were fun to court and woo and flirt with, but simply weren't the trophies that he could be satisfied making a life with. It wasn't anything personal, he merely thought like a fisherman, and tossed back the girls who didn't quite make the cut.

And then there was Rebecca. On the pier, his smile fades, and his humming ceases, and he remembers her more clearly than any other part of his long and storied past.

She was, in a word, flawless, and by some means or another, he charmed her, and they married, and for a while, they had the enviable sort of life and love that happens in the movies and in the books, but almost never translates into reality.

And then, one day, his vision was gone. The doctors called it a rare case of Amaurosis fugax, and explained that an artery had clogged just enough to decrease blood supply to his eyes, and the result was a total blindness that occured without warning, and could not be reversed. And suddenly, to Rebecca, he was a burden. She left him, like he left so many girls in his youth, because, for once, he was the one that warranted being tossed back.

He feels a hit at his lure, and knows he needs to jerk the rod and set his hooks in deep, and bring the fish onto the pier and snap out of his reverie, but he does not move, and a tear streaks down his cheeks, and in the murky waters of the lake in front of him, the fish darts away.

Singing Softly To Me - Kings of Convenience

1 comment:

  1. I think this is my favourite one. It's lovely :)