Thursday, April 8, 2010

Life Left to Go – A Short Story

Fishing was supposed to be relaxing, but for Amy, her opinion was that it was just wrong. I mean come on really, she thought. You ram some wriggling, defenseless worm – whose only crime was being in the wrong pile of dirt at the wrong time – onto a hook, a sharp, occasionally rusty, hook, then you toss the wriggling invertebrate into the water, essentially drowning him, and using his death dance to entice a fish that you may or may not eat. It was just…wrong.

Amy risked a glance to the left, gazing at Ian who looked content, seated in his blue vinyl chair, a tattered baseball cap pulled down low over his brow. He worked the rod, reeling in the line, then letting it go a little bit, reeling it in, then letting it go again. The noise, the creak of his chair on the weathered boards of the dock, the zip, and wind of the reel, was comfortably annoying.

At least the view is nice, Amy thought to herself, casting her eyes over the sparkling lake, focusing on the cluster of pine trees just across the other side. And the company's not too bad either.

Beside her, the zip and wind sound continued as Amy stared at the water. A duck splashed down, quacking loudly in the still afternoon. The splash rippled across the lake and Ian scowled at the fowl's faux pas, his expression screamed "hey duck, I'm fishing here."

Amy bit back a grin and watched the duck swim in lazy circles. It quacked occasionally and dove under the water, upending its self, orange webbed feet kicking at the air. Amy had never seen such a sight before and found it instantly amusing, almost like the duck sensed her boredom and deemed it his job to entertain her.

Ian scowled at her. "Damn duck's scaring all the fish," he muttered.

Amy quieted her laughter and watched the duck rise up from under the surface of the lake. "He's just hungry," she said defensively. "Besides, you don't even like fish, why's it matter if you catch one or not?"

"Principle, Amy. It's all about the principle of fishing. Fishing is-"

"A sacred thing," they both said at the same time, Ian serious, Amy mocking.

"A sacred thing," Ian repeated softly. "It's just you, the lake and the fish. Not catching anything says you were outsmarted by something with a brain the size of a pebble and that's just insulting."

"Its not insulting, its evolution," Amy insisted. "How many friends and fishy family members do you have to see undone by a hook and a worm before you realize that ain't such a good combination?"

Ian chuckled, pushing the bill of his baseball cap up and set the weight of his hazel eyes on her. "Only you would apply evolution to fishing. You, my dear, are a goob."

"Why thank you. I enjoy being a goob."

They sat silently for a beat, Amy idly wondering what exactly a goob was.

"It's just a word that means you're goofy," Ian said responding to her unspoken question.

"Well then thank you. I enjoy being goofy." She turned her face to the sun and reveled in its warmth.

The warmth spread across her face and shoulders, warming her hands and fingers. "You know, aside from the fishing, this day has been pretty great. We should do it more often."

Ian nodded. "We will, you just have to get better first. We can do a lot of things when you're better."

Amy nodded and blinked back the tears that threatened to spill. The drug addiction was something she wanted to beat, but no matter how many steps forward she always took, there was that one time when she'd stumble and spiral back down to that dark place where the only thing she could think about was her next high. The fact that the addiction hadn't ruined her marriage had yet to cease to amaze her. It said a lot about Ian's character. When everyone else abandoned her, Ian stood by her side and made her get the help she needed.

Ian glanced at his watch and sighed. "Its time to go. You have to be back soon."

Amy nodded and reeled in her line, frowning at the little worm dangling from the end of the hook, limp and lifeless. Ian stood and reached for the fishing pole. She handed it to him and turned away as he discarded the lifeless worm. She felt the blackness seeping into the light, taking over the edges of her peripheral vision. Ian noticed the change in her and placed on hand on her shoulder.

"You can do this," Ian softly said.

She gazed at him with watery eyes and nodded, squaring her shoulders, strengthening her resolve.

"That's my girl," he said and led the way back to where the truck was parked, just up the trail.

Amy climbed inside and wrapped her arms around herself. Rehab was a lot like fishing. It was supposed to be helpful or therapeutic or what have you, but to her it was just wrong. They stick you in this room and let you suffer until the drugs no longer course through you. You get sick; you scream and cry out from the pain and agony of withdrawal.

You ram needles into your arm; their only crime is being attached to your body, and let the rush of whatever you're injecting do its magic. Its rush of pleasure to the brain a sensual dance that keeps you coming back for more.

It was just wrong.

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