Photo by Lisa
The narrow gravel beach crunched under your feet as you carefully planted one foot in front of the other, making your way down the creek shore towards me. I watched your slow arrival, neither moving to greet or help you.
“It’s dangerous to be out here alone,” you huffed and puffed at me when you got closer. “Could be anyone lurking in the trees. You shoulda waited for me.”
“It ain’t the trees you have to worry about,” I replied. “You bring a rod?”
You nodded and cast your line before settling in beside me.
“What do you mean it ain’t the trees you gotta worry about?”
I shrugged and you fell silent.
As we sat, a breeze picked up and rustled the leaves on the trees and cooled the sweat on our faces. Crickets chirruped and birds sang in joyful triumph of the day.
Your sinker went under with a small plop and your line went taut.
“I got one!” you roared, breaking the pleasant silence.
I watched you stand up and frantically begin reeling in your line. Sweat streamed down your face with the exertion. Whatever you caught was heavy.
Eee! Eee! squeaked your rod in protest. Eee! Eee!
You grinned, imagining the giant fish cooking over the campfire tonight. You’d have bragging rights for months.
The wheel stopped turning.
“Help me!” You groaned through clenched teeth. The muscles on your forearms stood out with the strain.
I ignored you, continuing to sit with a hand on my own rod.
You waded into the creek, reeling in the slack as you approached the center where the water was deepest. Water poured in the top of your waders as it rose to chest height. Then neck height. And then the water closed in over the top of your head, leaving no trace of you.
“Huh. Didn’t know the water was that deep,” I said to no one in particular.
A bird sang and a cricket chirruped in reply.