Last month, before the sun kissed the New York skyline, my love and I headed to Belmar Marina with three friends for a fishing trip. We boarded the Golden Eagle with optimism. It was going to be a good day.
I am not going to be sick. I am not going to be sick. I’m am not going to be sick.
I repeated that to myself almost the entire day. I ate everything in sight to make sure of it. I even ate some extra salty pumpkin seeds. The salt helps, remember? I didn’t get sick and what’s more, I enjoyed myself.
Being on the water was something special. I’d never experienced such peace. Being surrounded by nothing but water for miles was calming. The sky and the water seemed to touch and it was absolutely beautiful. Every once in a while, when the boat turned, we’d see a small private beach where others were also fishing. It was a really good day.
On the water, I heard not one city sound. I only heard the hum of the engine, squawks from sea gulls above and the occasional swish when other boats passed nearby.
The sun glistened on the waves. It was lovely the way it seemed to dance on the water. And even though we were at least an hour out, I could still see the Empire State Building peeking in the distance. It was comforting to know I’m never too far from where my heart yearns to be.
As we waited to find an area where the fish were biting, we listened to our friend’s father and uncle tell stories. I smiled because it made me realize that’s what fishing was all about: storytelling.
I wondered about the stories our friend heard over the years. About the lessons he learned on the water. Not just about fishing, but about life and possibly what it means to be a man.
Then, my mind wandered to a boy no older than five years old. I noticed him earlier playing on a tablet with Starburst candy sprawled in front of him in the galley. He had a green mustache from his Gatorade and was also there with who I assume was his father and uncle.
When I caught a fish (I caught three!) and it flipped and flopped on the dock, he knew he couldn’t let it off the boat. He tried to stop it with his little rubber boots while my love tried to grab it. It was adorable.
Again, I smiled.
This morning, I wish I was still on that boat. I wish I was still on the waves where the slight ebb and flow soothed me and my weary mind. I wish I could still see the point where the sky and water meet so I’d know that my prayers were that much closer to God. I wish all these things because my heart is heavy and all I want to do is cry today.
I’m always up for a good story and typically, I do prefer the ones with a plot twist. But this…I could have never imagined one quite like this.
So, excuse me while I pretend that ahead is just miles of tranquil water. Because imagining I’m fishing is all I can do to get through today.