Yesterday I watched three little boys in the park go fishing. No older than six, with scabby knees and missing baby teeth, they were running around– as boys do– their mothers pushing strollers with baby sisters inside and calling for them to slow down.
The little boys all had old man names– Simon, Henry and William, and I suppose that fishing is something old-mannish.
Over the stone bridge, one of the boys– Simon, I think– pulled a bit of scratchy yarn out of a green sand pail and unraveled it to reveal a long line of string. He flung it over the bridge where it caught the wind for a while before resting lazily on top of the surface of the pond, where fat koi fish waded, sparking orange and white in the late afternoon sun. The fish didn’t notice the piece of yarn skating over their heads– and Simon’s friends weren’t convinced.
“You need bait to catch the fish!” croaked William.
“You gotta get some woooormmmmssss!” whined Henry.
“Just wait,” Simon hushed them, eyes focused on the water. He waited for some time, as old men do, and his friends got impatient and left to feed strawberries to the ducks, as old men do, and still, Simon waited.
Brow furrowed, he watched the fish bob and lounge and eventually become obscured by the glare of the sun getting lower in the sky, and even when his mother asked if he wanted to get ice cream, he shook his head no, eyes never leaving the water, and still, he waited.