I used to love to fish. When I was younger, my parents would buy those tiny fishing poles and magnetic fish for kids so that I could pretend I was fishing, just like my dad. We had a pool with a jacuzzi with some steps.
My mom would throw the magnetic fish into the jacuzzi so that I could fish them out. My younger sister had a fishing rod herself and also played with me.
In my childhood, my parents would take us out to fish in a beach. We would always go to a place called the Pier, where many fishers would go. There was a dock that extended far into the sea, and for a child, the path went on forever.
I would watch my dad in great amazement as he put shrimp on the fishing hook before throwing it out into the water, and I would be even more amazed when he caught a fish. For many hours, we would fish, and when I got sleepy, I would sleep in a sleeping bag, like the other children with fishing fathers.
We would stay overnight, at a hotel, but at five in the morning, I would wake up with my dad to go fishing at the hotel’s beach access while I played in the waves and in the sand.
But then, one day, I just hated fishing.
I used to be good at fishing. I used to catch more fish than my dad. He said it was because I was a child – I was more sensitive to the fish biting and wouldn’t let one get away. But then I hated fishing. I couldn’t stand it.
On days we would go out to the beach to fish, I would throw a tantrum and stay in the car while my dad was out, getting blown by the wind. My mom, who couldn’t leave me alone, would stay with me and try to persuade me into playing with my sister at the playground on the beach. I would go there, but I wouldn’t go closer to my dad.
On nights at the Pier, by eleven at night, I was complaining and asking if we could go home, which would be at least an hour away. My dad would say five more minutes, just five more minutes, leaving me to curl up on a bench and hide in a jacket, trying to sleep without too many people looking at me.
Even my dad’s luck got worse. He didn’t catch any fish. His father, my grandfather, didn’t catch any fish. My mom didn’t catch any fish. I wouldn’t catch any fish. It was only my younger sister, with the love of fishing still burning in her eyes, who caught fish.
But eventually, it didn’t seem fun for her either. She would sit with me and eat the snacks we brought.
But then one day, completely randomly, my dad took the family to fish another day, at the jetties, another place where we fished, where several rocks were there for my sister and I to run across and jump on.
I couldn’t understand it. My dad wasn’t able to catch anymore fish, but there he was, still trying to fish.
I denied holding a fishing rod, even if it was just so my dad could go to the restroom, because I knew that trick. He would tell me to hold the fishing rod, and when he would return, he would have another fishing rod in hand.
Instead, I jumped in the water with my shoes taken off and removed the hooks that would get stuck in the rocks. I would jump around and got my sister into the water with me. We weren’t deep in the water. The deepest we went was when the water went to our knees. We would climb slimy rocks and take out hooks while my dad patiently – very patiently – waited for another fish, another chance.
But the next time we went fishing, the weather was windy and cold with dark clouds. Yet my dad still wanted to fish.
He handed me a rod to hold while he set up another rod in hopes my sister would fish with him.
But she didn’t. Instead, he took that rod and let me hold the other. For the first time in several years, I was fishing with my dad.
But the weather got worse. It was going to rain – badly.
We went in the car, but my dad went to the restroom.
“It’s too bad the weather’s bad,” my mom said. “Your dad wanted to fish because you were fishing with him for the first time.”
The point is, I forgot about why I wanted to fish. I forgot that I wanted to fish because it required patience and silence. Yet in the same time, you could be with the one you love as you wait patiently with them. And that went unspoken for several hours.