Along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the water is the color of an emerald in the sun and as warm as a hot bath When you head out to deeper water, you see darker patches of seal Mysterious murky patches of colder water that loom beneath each vessel awaiting its demise While floating above one of these dark patches, I learned that patience is not only a virtue but a necessity when fishing for marlini The story begins before the fish appearsi My family and I were weary when we landed at Miami Airports My mother looked if she had just ran a marathon, and my father was dead still, you’d think he was a corpse except he’d nod in and out of consciousness.
The expression on his face was pure bliss. My parents, sister, cousin and I waited for our rental car on soft and comfy retractable chairs; the kind of chair with marshmallowesoft leather that absorbs all your tiredness, My whole body melded with that chair at first contact.
As a glossy black Chevy SUV pulled up, we slowly got up from the chairs, and stretched ourselves back to reality.
The trouble started as soon as my father began talking. Any time my father and I are trapped in a car together, we have the same stupid disagreement I love footballr I love talking about football almost as much as I love playing it My father appreciates this, but his niche is swimming l—Ie swam in high school, swam through college at UC Berkeley and literally anything about swimming gets his full attention So naturally, he torpedoed the conversations.
We’s been having an interesting conversation about old-school quarterbacks Joes — Joe Namath and Joe Montana — and suddenly my father’s relating some idiotic story about a man rubbing himself all over with Vasoline before swimming the English channel. I could feel anger filling up my head like a balloon attached to a helium pump. When my father calmly said I was “More Irritated than he had ever seen me had seen me before” I snapped. I realized that lack of sleep was making me impatient and unreasonable, but I couldn’t help it. My father’s calm enraged me, I argued and argued about how stupid swimming was. As I pushed further I saw a look in my father’s eye I had not seen before. It was disappointment.
He actually looked offended. I took a few deep breaths and imagined myself as calm and patient. When my heartbeat slowed down, I realized something unusual. My father had a smile back on and was rattling on about how swimmers dive off the starting blocks. He glanced over at me as he talked about proper off-the-blocks diving form. He wasn’t angry any more and this made me happy I thought about how being patient steered our conversation clear of conflictt By the time the fiasco of a conversation had died down, we had arrived at the dock. Two heavy guys in dirty clothes were gearing up to catch big fish Each rod was the size of a birch tree with grappling hooks bigger than my hand. The guys were fastening the rods into rough- looking cast-iron holders that were bolted to the boat, As soon as we jumped onto the grubby deck, the boat took off, a sunbaked orange sky overhead, At first the ride was fine; the air cooled my face and the emerald water looked promising.
But after an hour of motoring, the smell of gasoline and an underlying dead-fish fragrance made me impatient. It was happening once again. I started causing trouble with my sister and my cousin, and nobody in the boat was very happy with me. My father had been watching us bicker and slowly began losing his patience. Finally he yelled at me. “STOP IT! JUST STOP IT!” The horn on the ship had been loud when we’d cast off the dock, but my dad right now was even louder. “Stop it! I can ask the skipper to turn us around and head right back to the hotel if this arguing doesn’t stop now“ We immediately shut up and directed our attention to the cool blue mirror of the ocean reflecting the fiery orange tint of the sky, The boat slowed down and the crew helped us bait the big hooks with chunks of dead fish. Big smelly chunks of fish. I cast out my line, impatient for something to bite. A miracle took place. My reel started whining. I had a fish on and it was getting away, fast. I jumped to the reel and slowly tightened the drag and it was off to the races. I was struggling but I kept the fish in the hook, much to my and everyone else’s surprise.
One hour and liters of sweat later, I felt a snap My reel went limpi, I’d lost it, I was angry, very angry I wanted to yell out virtually every obscenity a sixteen-year old could possibly screami All of a sudden there was a swishing sound and a bright glimmer. A four and a half foot blue marlin leaped out of the water with the elegance of a swan. He landed on Lhe deck of our boat I almost had a heart attack! Ijolted out of the chair and leapt for joy I was definitely the luckiest kid in the world. A four and a half foot blue marlin weighing in at approximately forty five pounds handed itself to met I had been patient and I was blessed with a blue marlin. The phrase “Karma is real” stuck with me for the rest of the day. I’d never seen a color exactly like the blue-green tint of the fish, but I will remember it always The captain sliced up the marlin with a glinting, mean-looking knife; my dad told him he could keep most of my fish, but we carried home a few chunks of it, wrapped in a brown paper bag. At the hotel, my dad borrowed a Weber grill and cooked the fish over charcoal. I still remember the way the fish tasted. Buttery and rich, it tasted the way the ocean smells on a warm day. And I remember how patience feel it’s as calm as looking out at the ocean when it‘s emerald green with smooth white sand beneath your feet