Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Gone Fishing (02/01/07)
TITLE: Just One
By Pat Guy
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He turned at the crunch of her sandals, and that’s when she saw the most beautiful Cajun eyes looking her up and down like she … yes she, was the intruder. Of all things! This boy, who couldn’t be more than 10 yrs of age, scowled a kaleidoscope of gold and browns directed at her from under a tattered ball cap. Yeah, you and whose army. I hope you’re wearing sunscreen on that beautiful bronzy brown skin of yours.
She thought she’d try to soften this indignant child with some easygoing island humor, ‘Whatcha doin on my rock mon?’
“Soooo’s that pole. Catchin anything?”
“Ooookay, Baracuda botherin anybody today?”
“Nope.” He turned his attention back to fishing.
Well, that didn’t work.
She stood there like the intruder she was and settled on the rock closest to shore. The salt air never ceased to relax her with that fragrance of life at sea. The gentle laps of frothy ripples were lullabies that could always calm her woes – that’s why she was there … she needed calm. She sat and watched familiar marine life ebbing with the flow creating pools of activity – mesmerized.
But this boy, on her rock, was a distraction – or rather a curiosity. He was thin – too thin she noticed. Sweat glistened down his backbone. At least he has a cooler with him.
“You know, I’ve got some lobster traps I need to check. Wanna help? I really could use some help and I pay good – lobsters and money.”
His body stiffened, and the slope of his shoulders told her something … but she didn’t know what. He just stared out to sea.
“Have you ever been lobster trappin?”
In silence, they both watched a pelican diving to snatch its own fish – warm breezes carried essence of ripe Sea Grapes from bushes close by. Mmmmm … lovely! The boy’s hook began to bob – just pesky Needlefish nibbling a morsel. “Okay – see ya later then.”
She stopped in mid stride, “What?”
“My dad took me trappin.”
“You said … took, does that mean he’s gone or somethin?”
“In Heaven. Been there since I was eight.”
“I’m sorry. What …”
“He liked the sea. Fishin, lobsterin an everythin. That’s why we’re never gonna move.” He turned and looked up at her, “You know anythin ‘bout Heaven … what’s it like?”
She looked into those curious golden flecks, but could think of nothing that would fit what this child really wanted to know.
“Didn’t think so … you goin there too sometime?”
Now the eyebrows reappeared like she should know what he’s talking about. “Heaven”
“Well … I … um … why you wanna know? I thought you could help me check my traps if you want.”
“My church says we’re suppose ta ask people if they’re goin ta Heaven … are ya? Besides, I left a note for my mom that I’d gone fishin. An anyway, you’re a stranger an I need to get permission – you’d have to meet my mom first.”
“That sounds good, why don’t you go see if she wants to meet me?” Anything to get away from this talk about Heaven! Sheesh! I came here to get AWAY from stress, not to find more!
The boy secured the hook, grabbed the cooler and scampered off – probably with visions of a good meal for that night.
“Tell her my name is Maddy.” She yelled after him.
He turned, flashing a quirky grin, “Okay.”
She maneuvered out to her rock and basked in all that was ‘sea,’ Mmmmm … peace and quiet …at last. Even the screech of sea gulls couldn’t stop the release of tension this place always brought to her.
How can that kid be so sure of himself? I can’t even say that about ME! No! Stop! No thinking! And Heaven …why did I have to …? No! No more thinking Maddy! Stop it! … ‘ You goin there too sometime?’
Shaking her head, she gave up and marveled at how just one child, and just one question could interrupt such luxurious peace.
Well now, I’ve got just one question to ask him and let’s see what Mr. ‘I know I’m going to Heaven but do you?’ will have to say.
She closed her eyes and welcomed a deep cleansing breath … Yes, and our rock will do just fine.
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