On June 13th, 2013, John attempted to teach me how to fish. Sad to say, my confidence in my ability to do anything at the time was shot. It did not help that I caught a tree three times and to make matters worse, that tree was diagonally behind me.
The third time, as he was retrieving the hook and line from the tree branches, John fell in the pond. He laughed good naturedly as I stood watching to see if he would be angry at me.
I told John I did not want to fish anymore. I was crying on the inside. Sometimes when I look back to that day and many days before, I feel mixed emotions. Sad and angry that I was ever made to feel that nothing I did was or would be right.
I can also remember that feeling of confusion when John would laugh at the things I did instead of getting angry and yelling at me. Each time was like a moment suspended in time, me frozen in space, not breathing. Each time, I wanted to cry, or scream. Each time, I wanted to run to him and away from him. Each time I did something that was purely me, I froze and stared at him, waiting for his reaction. I was sure there would come the day when he start screaming at me and never stop.
Then came the day he went out in his kayak and came back moments later to announce there was a hole in it. My heart stopped, I froze. For sure, if there was ever going to be a day when everything fell apart, this would be it. If there was ever going to be a day when this man would lose it, this would be it. If this man was ever going to take out his anger at me, yell at me, say hurtful things just because he could, this was going to be it.
As I sat in the truck beside him, I waited and when he spoke I just stared at him in amazement. He wasn’t angry, he didn’t yell. He didn’t look for the nearest person to blame. He simply started talking about ways to fix the kayak. He was as mild as he always is.
I know that is the day I finally came to accept that he was not going to treat me ever the way I had been treated before. I was never going to be blamed by this man for something I had no control over.
In the summer of 2014, John taught me to fish and I did not give up. Not when I hooked the garlic spray behind me and sent it flying into the middle of the lake and the two men fishing nearby left because of my laughing so loud. Not when I continuously got my hook stuck in the weeds. Not when I dropped the bass on his head on a rock and cried because I decided I was a nuisance to fish society.
I went fishing last week for the first time this season. I caught a tree. I almost caught John. (that would have been terrible) He informed me that I already had him!
I also caught the first fish of the season between the two of us and that fish was also the first bass of the season. I wasn’t aware that they made bass that small, but that is not the point… I caught it and I released it.
I got my fishing license last week as well. Not something I ever thought I would have.
I have accomplished things in my life that most would consider much bigger than this. I guess it is all a matter of perspective. From where I am sitting, this is one of the best.