Day 173-Flash Fiction Friday-Floundering For Fun

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Heading out over the choppy water towards the causeway, Devin and Kaly prepared themselves for a fine day of fishing on the Neches River. The air was cool and Kaly pulled her coat tighter around her and bent her head down to stay out of the wind. Not wanting to miss anything, however, it was back up shortly, tears streaming down the sides of her face as the wind tore at her eyes, even though she wore sunglasses. She loved being on the water and whether fish were caught or not, loved any chance at going for a ride in Devin’s boat.

Devin had purchased the twenty foot,  center console Fishmaster fishing boat back in the summer and they had already taken it for several eventful trips. She was sure this day would prove no different, when she and her Devin were together, it was an adventure waiting to happen. Peering over the side of the boat, she watched the water rippling as they cut through the waves, Devin was making the turn now that would take them to the part of the river known as the “flats”-one of the best places for floundering they had found so far. It wasn’t bad for reds either, but that was for fall fishing…although not completely out of the realm of possibility. Kaly herself had caught reds at different times of the year, so she knew it could happen.

When they made their home in Port Neches, they were excited about all of the waterways, beaches and bayous available for every type of fishing and set out to do as much as possible. Every weekend they were free from work or some other obligation, they were at the beach, or one of the many parks that fronted a particular body of water. There was Port Neches park, right along the Neches river, or they could take a twenty minute drive and be at Umphrey’s Park, close to the causeway into Louisiana. There were others, of course, and Kaly’s personal favorite thing to do was to surf fish for reds in the fall, so far, she had the family record for the biggest one caught yet.

The flat cold water flounder was what they were after today though, and Kaly stopped her daydreaming just as Devin pulled the boat to a slow, sidling up next to a large tree trunk that rose up out of the lake like body of water they now found themselves in. He asked her what their depth was, and answering that they were in a safe six foot, she readied her fishing pole with a chartreuse worm and got up from her seat. Standing on the bow of the boat, she cast out next to the stump, and just as the lure flew out over the water, she felt a slight resistance and the next thing she knew, she was staring at her brand new fishing pole as it hit the water! It had flown right out of her hand, the line having caught up somehow in the rigging of the pole. Devin could not believe his eyes as she looked at him, mouth agape in horror, and said “How the heck did that just happen?” Embarrassed and devastated, Kaly hung her head and said “I have no idea! One minute I was casting and the next, I was watching my pole go in the water. I’m sorry Honey.”

Not one to make waves, Devin assured her it was no big deal and turned to ready another pole for her. Sheepishly, she thanked him and tried her luck again, making sure to hold on tight this time. She knew she would be in for some righteous teasing from this day forward, and promised herself she would take it and not say a word. Devin was first to get lucky, however, and hollered as he pulled up a nice, flat fatty, hoisting to the edge of the boat and Kaly went to grab the net. “Nice one Babe” she said as he dumped it in the live well. Not to be outdone, she at once turned to cast again, aiming for a spot to the left of the tree stump. As she felt the lure drag the bottom, a small tug clued her in that she had a bite, and she jerked on the rod, setting the hook. “Fish on” she shouted and Devin clambered over to her side of the boat with the net at the ready. Only there was no fish, and as she pulled harder and tried to reel, she realized she was caught on some roots or branches from the stupid tree. She could not believe her misfortune, she was the one who usually had the best luck catching fish, now here she’d been out smarted again.

After cutting the line, Devin declared she had better get one soon, the tide was changing and soon they would have to go back in. Kaly was cold anyway, but refused to be denied, pouting the whole time Devin readied another hook and lure for her. He handed it over saying it was her last chance and with that, she tossed the line out over the shimmering water once again. Bobbing the line in short, quick jerks, she wanted patiently for another bite. Scanning the water, watching the sunlight play off the waves, she felt a sense of calm overtake her and she relaxed, deciding if nothing happened, it had still been a fun day on the water. Just taking a boat ride was half of the joy for her, and spending time with her man was what brought a smile to her face. She could even put up with the cold when she knew they would be going fishing, it was their favorite thing to do. Devin once again brought her out of her reverie shouting “fish on” again! She just could not believe this! This day was turning out to be her nemesis, and she was about to put down her pole and go to his aid when she felt a tug.” AHHH, fish on here too” she shouted and then they were both fighting to reel, reel, reel each of their catches in. Hers was small enough that as she caught site of the fish about to break the water’s surface, she gave one last huge pull, and it flopped over the side of the boat and landed at her feet. Throwing down her pole, she grabbed the net and sidled up to Devin, scooping it under his massive flounder. “That’s the biggest one yet” she announced as he beamed with pride. “Well, at least you didn’t get skunked” he said as he surveyed her little flatty. “Fish is fish, you’re right” she said, and dumped him unceremoniously into the live well.

Feeling somewhat victorious, they put up their gear and got ready to head back in. Settling back down in her seat, Kaly gathered a towel around her legs and got out her iPhone to snap some pictures to commemorate another successful trip, as they glided across the water toward the causeway once again. She mused about the simple things in life they shared and how much joy it brought her, just a happy couple cruising through life from the starboard side.

 

Day 166-Flash Fiction Friday- The Dinner

img_0715 The water was crisp, with a tinge of lemon. She set it back down on the table and picked up her fork, staring down at the food on her plate. Suddenly filled with dread, she glanced up at her boyfriend across the table from her, he nodded his encouragement, and she took her first bite. Nervously, she began to chew, fighting back the nausea threatening to make her put the fork back down and forget the whole thing. “You have to try” Jonas said to her as tears filled his eyes. He felt so sorry for her, watching as she struggled to get a bite of salad to stay down. Sherry sat there, scrunching the white napkin in her hands, nervously observing all of the food on her plate. She had been fighting her disorder for a year now, she knew she was on the verge of a breakthrough but didn’t know yet how to get past this. She recalled the memory that brought her to this particular time and place, sitting in this little Italian restaurant and her, determined to make it through their first real dinner since leaving the treatment center.

It all started one morning as she was picking clothes out for school. Her mom passed by her room just as she was struggling to pull on a slightly tight fitting pair of blue jeans, she’d gained a few pounds over the winter break. Her mom had made the innocent comment that she might need to go shopping for some new clothes for school and suddenly Sherry was looking at herself in a whole new way. Was her mom saying she was fat? Maybe she was, maybe that’s why her jeans were getting tight and her shirts were riding just a bit higher than they had been. Her mother’s words had stung, but still Sherry knew she was right, and decided right there and then she would do something about it. Maybe she would go on a diet. She’d been hearing other girls at school talking about how you could make it all day, just eating a few pieces of celery and some crackers. They also claimed that doing sit ups and walking would flatten out your stomach. She chose some better fitting clothes and finished readying herself for school. She’d make her mom regret saying those things…even if it killed her.

Now, as she sat across the table from Jonas, it all came rushing back, everything she had been through that year. The hospital visits, the therapy, the doctors force feeding her through a tube. She’d gone too far, exercising like a maniac and eating less and less until finally, she weighed about eighty seven pounds- at five foot three, she was perilously close to death at one point. The doctors said she had anorexia, but she didn’t believe them. She only knew she was petrified of gaining weight now, staring at her reflection in the mirror, all she saw was fat. Even though her ribs were visible and her face had sunken in, she still thought she saw love handles on her hips, but they said it was all in her head.  She had finally gained around five pounds, with Jonas helping her every step of the way. She loved him, didn’t want to hurt him and saw how much he loved her as he now stared into her eyes. “Please, you can do it Sherry. Just eat the salad if you want.” Tears threatened to fall from his eyes as he pleaded with her. “Okay” she nodded and pierced a juicy red cherry tomato, slowly bringing it to her mouth. Everyone wanted her to get well, she knew it, but the knowledge didn’t make it any easier. Still, she knew she had to try, and with that, she swallowed her second bite.

 

I crafted this story with a first line prompt I found online, I hope you enjoyed it.