Fishing with Pop

Lineyo quietly clamped his bedroom door shut before tip-toeing to Pop’s room. He had found out only two days ago about Pop’s lung cancer and could not bear thinking about the pain his beloved grandfather would face simply at the age of 67. Mom and Grammy were overcome with depression and were still lying in bed, probably awake.

Seeing Pop sleeping, so relaxed, so peaceful, reminded Lineyo of the unforgettable times he had spent with Pop. Just the two of them. Speeding down empty streets under the moonlight, spending endless hours at town carnivals, playing cards, going on fishing trips… That’s it! Fishing had forever been Pop’s ultimate hobby. He had explained to Lineyo earlier that it was a perfect evasion from the grips of marriage life and had begun loving it only weeks after getting married.

Lineyo jumped at the remarkable idea. Abounding with excitement, he dashed back to his bedroom, grabbed his fishing hat from the hook, slid out two spincasts from his closet, and sped back out of the room. Unable to control his exhilaration, Lineyo plopped the brown hat on Pop’s head and balanced a spincast in his hand. Startled, Pop briskly sat up and stared wide-eyed at Lineyo’s twinkling eyeballs.

“Let’s go!” Lineyo exclaimed, suddenly aware that this could be the last fishing trip Pop went on. He didn’t want to let go of Pop without having memories with him till the end. Lineyo kept his excitement displayed but his thoughts of Pop’s last fishing trip with him were eating up his excitement and cruelly spitting it out. Pop smiled affectionately as he raised his wrinkled hand to touch Lineyo’s soft, tanned face. Lineyo blinked purposefully, attempting to cast away the tears and be a strong young boy as he was to his entire family. His eyes uncontrollably swelled up and one by one, drops rolled down his cheeks, colliding with Pop’s hands.

“It’s okay Lineyo.” Pop’s soothing voice comforted Lineyo slightly, but the tears persisted, even more now. “Go get ready. Let’s have fun today,” Pop said in his baritone voice and winked at his grandson who was now smiling with tears still trickling down, making a turn at his broad smile.

“Can we walk to the creek?” Lineyo questioned with anticipation.

“Definitely,” Pops replied, beaming. “Just like the old days.”

The walk didn’t last long enough. Lineyo was hoping for a lively, jocular conversation full of funny stories and made up jokes, but Pops had a coughing fit only minutes after leaving home and refused to go back and fetch the Chevrolet. Pops had always been a strong-minded, determined man, refusing to give up on obstacles that came up in his life. This is why Lineyo had a speck of hope for Pop while he battled his ongoing cancer. Living with Pop was the easiest thing a person could do in their life. Pop had so much unconditional care for everyone that he was capable of going to limits in his own discomfort to keep the opposite person content and at ease.

Upon reaching the creek, Lineyo swiftly removed his tin of bait, bobbers, and hooks. He handed Pop a spincast and took his own miniature one. Luckily, a young man offered them his wooden boat and they agreed eagerly. The sky was littered with puffs of clouds and young Lineyo was thankful for the pleasant weather, trying to hold mental pictures of the evening.

The evening progressed gradually, unhurried and leisurely. Pop’s few exclaims of disgust in a small amount of fish at the time kept the mood slightly heavy, but Lineyo enjoyed his grandfather’s company was used to the random expletives he heard throughout their leisure outings. A small number of fish caught hold of the bait but Lineyo knew Pop wouldn’t leave until sundown.

At 6:15pm, just before the sun fell behind the evergreens, Pop’s entire body jerked towards his line. The tug of the fish was hard and Lineyo felt it. Could this be the fish of the day? Another tug nastily shook the entire boat and little Lineyo, in an attempt to stay in balance, let go of his spincast and collapsed onto Pop, who was still dealing with the uncontrollable fish. Pop reeled the fish in with all his effort, unaware of the loss of Lineyo’s spincast and leaped in his seat with abounding joy when the large catfish emerged through the water. Lineyo regained balance and without thinking, jumped over the edge, confident to save his spincast.

The icy water drew its chilly layer over Lineyo as he swam deeper and deeper, searching for the long, blue line. A mixture of sand and mud floated around him as Lineyo struggled to keep his eyes open. His hand brushed the bottom. He looked to his left, trying to look past the unclear water but saw nothing. Turning himself to the right, he swam swiftly through. A few seconds after wading through the murky water, Lineyo’s foot bumped into a metal object. Glad to have succeeded in locating his treasured object, Lineyo fought the one-on-one battle in reaching the surface as the weight of the cast kept pulling him down, further away from the boat. Eventually, Lineyo’s gasps of breath and sputters of water were heard by Pop, who sat worried in the boat, holding his prized fish. Lineyo, with all his might, hurled the cast over his head and it clattered in the boat. He pushed himself over the edge, slanting the boat for a second or two and flung his legs onto the boat.

“That was pretty heroic young man,” Pop said admirably. He had a strange smile on his face, seeming as if he would burst with laughter any second. Lineyo chuckled softly at the uncalled for turn of events and wondered when he would have such an adventure again.

Lineyo grinned widely at his beloved grandfather, hoping God would be kind to him and keep the man he loved and respected most alive for longer.