Reeling in the Sun

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He clambered out of bed, eyes still half shut as he picked himself off the floor. He swayed back and forth as he struggled to peel open his eyelids, leaning against the doorway of his room as he pushed forward through the darkness. It was impossible to see, he simply went by memory. Little shapes danced behind his eyelids as he stumbled forward. His feet clump clumped on the steps loudly as he staggered forth, and he wasn’t sure if his curses were mental or whispers. Definitely whispers, he decided, smelling morning breath escape from his beard.

“You’ve got to wake up,” he mumbled as he shook someone awake in the room below. They moaned, and curled up more in the warmth of their pillow. He shook them a little harder, they moaned in angst a little longer. Shaking his still asleep head, he backed out of the room, trying not to knock anything over.

He rubbed his eyes as he walked outside, across the sand and up the bridge. A pole in his hand as he treaded forward, the rest in his pack that thudded on his waist with each pace. Eyes open now, he could see the starry sky above, little pinpricks of light glowing dimmer as the light in his eyes grew brighter. The skyline was a mix of purple and black, an inky darkness that robbed the land of all scenery. A faint breeze tickled his neck as hiked up, and he closed his eyes once more, feeling the spring in the air. There was nothing out but that breeze, the only sound his feet scuffing against the inclining pavement.

He dropped his line in at the top of the bridge, leaning against the barrier that separated here from the driving lanes on the bridge. Fingers tugged at the line, feeling the vibrations. A cloud rolled by overhead, navy outlined in silver, just like him, idly as though it had not a single deadline in its lifetime to get where it was going. The new moon hung out somewhere up there, he knew, staring up into the sky, cloaked by its own shadow. The kid was probably dreaming of this, he supposed. Seeing it was far better than sleeping, he shrugged as he checked the line.

A scuff similar to his own took the little attention he had from the line. The kid was coming up, half dressed in a sweatshirt and overalls. Just in time too, the man mumbled to himself as he turned back to all that was before him. The sky was turning from purple to a lighter orange, as somewhere just beyond the edge, the sun was making its way up. “You made it,” he said to the kid, once he made it to the spot where the man sat. “Bait up.”

They sat in silence for a few moments, as the sun crept closer and closer toward the horizon. They watched the glow herald its arrival. As he sat, he wasn’t sure which he waited for more. The sun or a nibble. He’d been doing this everyday since he was a kid with his pop, and the tradition continued here.

A crown broke on the horizon, unexpectedly the same time as the pole began to bend. Sure, the currents were starting, but… the man tightened his grip on the pole. What was he doing? He asked himself as he reeled the wrong way. Fixing the pole, he lightly tugged. Definitely a bite.

Soon it was a small, yet challenging battle. He had watched the sun every day, never missed it. Now just as it was riding the waterline, here he was, distracted by some bite that would probably get away. He yanked. It yanked back. Now he was reeling in faster, as the horizon grew brighter and brighter with the shade of a shining dandelion, while the kid sat there, waiting for his own bite to come. With a final exhale of impatience, the man stepped forward, and began to aggressively pull in whatever was on the other line.

The fish was willful, but all his meager strength could not last decades of reeling in. It  popped out, flying into the air, an image that smacked against the sun as it broke the waterline.

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