The one that (should have) got away

fish_storyShe balances on a weathered, half submerged snag. The water runs cold and clear over a carpet of undulating crimson – hundreds of the river’s namesake fish.

I wonder, she thinks, dipping in one foot, then another. The cold stings, then numbs in seconds. She holds still as the bodies scatter and return to the shade of the snag. She bends, sliding her hand over one, feeling it writhe from her grasp, trying another. She finds no purchase on the slippery scales until the scars of a third provide traction. She straightens, holding a writhing trophy by the tail.

“Dad,” she yells.

“DAD.”

She’s frantic it will slip away before he looks, but he turns and squints at her from across the shallows, pole in one hand, slack line dragging a lonely hook in the current. His jaw drops, then his shoulders. The tip of his pole touches water as he watches his daughter dance.

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photo by: pfly