?What?s waiting at the end?? I asked.
?Only what you take with you.? The little boy replied.
I walked across the boat, slowly, feeling the sunlight on my shoulders. Burning into me.?What?s at the end? What?s at the end??I felt it in me, the carnal want, that plagues all humanity, and it was waiting. It needed answers.
I shook the thoughts off my mind.
?You must learn,? the boy said, ?to accept yourself for yourself.? He cast his stick out over the boat?s side. The line of string holding the hook, plopped in the water, the little worm on the hook squirmed and squeezed, trying to remove itself from its predicament.
?Shut up, you.? Was all I could say as I cast my rod out over the rails. ?I meant what sort of fish are we going to catch today.?
?Oh. So you?re not flawless.?
?Sorry, philosophically speaking, I meant.? The boy pulled a crooked smile, reminiscing over our past conversation, the one at the train station.
I shook my head in dismay at his impudence.?That boy will have to learn to keep his big mouth shut sometime. Probably never at this rate.
Minutes past; they grew into one long, drawn out hour.
I lit up a cigarette.
?You shouldn?t smoke.? the boy said when I slouched in the fold-out chair, leaving the rod in its socket.
I waved a hand in his direction, to silence him. The sea seemed so quiet, so calm.?What fish would turn up here? There?s no commotion. I bet all the fish are further out, with the big waves.
?I got something! I got something!? the boy yanked on his line feverishly, trying to bring the stick up.
?That fishing rod?s so small,? I told him, ?you wouldn?t be able to catch squat.?
The sun caught the little string as it was pulled up, up into the air.?A wisp of silver.?Attached to the end was a huge Tuna-fish, its skin gleaming with the glint of a thousand summer suns. For a moment, it looked like a rainbow leaping out of the water and into the skies. The fish fell onto the boat with a dull thud, blood slowly trickling from where the hook had skewered the mouth.
?See? Got one!? the little boy cried with joy, running to where the big Tuna had fallen, putting his hands on the fish?s scales as it thrashed.
I couldn?t stop myself. ?How the?fuck?did you catch that??
The boy looked up, seeing right through my many guises, the masks I put on in society to get by. In that moment he saw through all that was personality, habit, and what I was raised to be. He saw ?it?, in me, in humanity, and understood it.
He spoke only two words to me.