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Going Fishing – Pacific Storytellers Cooperative

Going Fishing

Through all my years growing up, I never would have thought that my mother would be a morning person, but she surprised me by shaking me awake from my slumber in the break of dawn with the intention to take me fishing.
“Get up. Get Obi ready, we’re going fishing.” she stated sternly before making her way to the kitchen to prepare some snacks for us.

Opening my eyes, everything seemed dark still, but then again its dawn so I don’t think too much about it. Turning to my right side I see Obi, my little ten-year old niece that I consider a sister, asleep. I figured I’ll let her sleep a little longer as I get ready. However, by the time I stand on my feet, Obi is already dressed, showered, and now she’s waiting for me.

“Vai, hurry up! Grandma’s already waiting.” she said in one breath.

I take a quick glance outside and there she stands, tapping her foot waiting impatiently with the face that matches her annoyed mood.

Rushing in to the bathroom, I quickly splashed my face with some cold water hoping that it would wake me up more from my dazed state. Shockingly I didn’t feel a thing, but I don’t dwell too long on it in the restroom trying to figure out why I feel so numb fearing my mom’s reaction if I didn’t hurry. Within five minutes, I’m out the door walking with my mom and Obi down towards the dock. I was expecting my dogs to follow us like they usually do, but they were nowhere to be seen.

While we were walking, I noticed that there seemed to be less vegetation and houses. With my mind wrapped around the changes, I am vaguely aware that we have already arrived at the dock. To my surprise, my dogs are waiting for us. They take off running as soon as we are close enough to pet them. Although I was expecting to see pink and orange streaks in the sky from the rising sun, everything still seemed dark and grey. I didn’t get a chance to think too much into it for my mom started leading us to the ramp on the far left of the dock where people would launch their boats. She pointed to an old small speed boat that had no engine and instructed us to help her take it into the water. Slowly but surely we accomplished that task at hand.

Once in the water, my mom bids for me and Obi to climb into the boat. We do as we are told without hesitation but I still can’t feel the water. Right now my mind doesn’t linger on how numb I feel but how we’re going to move without an engine? My mom then takes out two oars with a small smile answering my internal question. I offer to take up rowing but my mom was very insistent on rowing, plus she was the only one who knew where we were going so I didn’t argue with her.

Before I knew it, we already reached our destination. We’ve reached the side of a rock island and my mom is already tying up the boat to one of the tree branches hanging low from the rock island. Without saying another word, she grabs her fishing gear then jumps into the dark green water and for some unknown reason I knew that she was going to search for some sea urchins. Before leaving us, she turns to me and says, “Stay with Obi and wait for me, I won’t be long. Don’t let her go off on her own.” and with that she dives into the water and fog starts to creep around us like a pack of wolves ready to capture their prey. Since my mom is able to stand and the water is up to her waist, the water must be pretty shallow. I am not able to see anything but fog and some of the green water. Since I can’t see anything, I figured it’s hopeless to try to look for her. I turn to look at Obi and she already has her fishing line in the water and is waiting patiently for something to bite. Without taking her eyes off mine, she starts yanking her fishing line up to find that it’s still empty.

“Aw man! You’re kidding. Hey what’s your problem? If you’re going to eat my bait, at least hold on until I pull you up.” she shouts towards that water.

I assume she’s talking to the fish that got away with her bait. I can’t help but laugh at her poor attempt at trying to reason with a fish who’s probably already under a rock munching away on her bait. My laughing echoes through the whole Island it seems and Obi turns to me with a questioning look.

“What?” she asks.

“Obi, it’s not like the fish can hear you or that it’ll return your bait any time soon.” I say trying my hardest to suppress my giggles that threaten to leave me.

Without warning, she lounges to me and tackles me down. But being the smaller one of the both of us, her victory didn’t last long. I pushed her back and got to my feet before she could try anything. We then started wrestling and before we knew it, we were already in our own bubble each trying to win nothing in particular.

Bang! We both turn in surprise to see my mom hauling over some fishing gear from the water.

“Hey what are you two up to? You’re scaring all the fish away; keep the boat still I’m going to…” her voice trails off as she moves to the front of the boat.

Turning back, Obi still has that ‘I’m not backing down yet’ look on her face. Before I knew she tackles me down with a big thud, but this thud was a lot louder than it actually felt on my head. Obi then dives into the water not waiting around for me to continue our wrestling match from earlier. I then realized that my mom was nowhere to be seen, and she left all her fishing gear behind. Where did she go? I stand and make my way to the front of the boat where I last saw her. I then spot both her hands grasping both ends of the bow. She probably wants to flip the boat over so that I could get wet. ‘Well, not this time!’

“Mom!” I shouted while grasping one of her hands to try to scare her.

Her hand felt cold, too cold. I quickly removed my hand from hers to examine it more closely and to my horror; both her hands were paper white. A shiver runs through my spine as I then start to notice my surroundings. The boat is way too close to the rock island and Obi is nowhere to be found. And I can’t think about her right now because all of my focus is on my mom.

I jumped out of the boat and I try to move the boat as best as I could slowly away from the rock island. Through the green water, I can see a figure underwater where my mom’s arms are coming out from holding the bow. My heart starts to sink as reality hits me. I rush over and lift her out of the water, but she goes limp. I hold her in my arms and try to think of what I have to do. I take two steps to my left and we’re already at the ramp. All I have to do is carry her up to shore and bring her to the hospital. But when I touched her face, she’s ice-cold and her skin is very pale. And that’s how I know that I’ve lost her. She’s gone. How long has she been in the water? How did I not notice?

“Oh no, Lord please no!” I start to weep and my breathing begins to increase.

Before muttering another prayer, I wake up from my nightmare, hyperventilating and disoriented. I’m sleeping in my mattress on the floor at my home. I take a quick glance over at the couch and there lays my mom, in deep sleep. I then glance at the clock that reads one fifty. Before going back to sleep, I mutter a quick prayer, knowing that God will answer it by guiding me in my sleep.

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  1. kerngel - January 6, 2017

    Nice Vai! you had me sweating here too lol … love u

  2. BRUCE ROBERT - February 23, 2017

    Hey Vai! Keep the stories alive. And keep them coming. Love reading about your mom as fisherman. As Pohnpeian, our women do fish, but only with lines. Not spearfishing…. hopefully soon someday. So us men can do the cooking sometimes. But I like the story. Keep it up and thanks for sharing.

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