I could almost see snatches from before, like out-of-focus pictures, making out a boy and his father, the two fishing these very docks.
I tried to hold onto them but nothing seemed right , the old world springing leaks, filled with new waves. Two realities clashed for a moment, standing so close together that it felt as though I were watching my youth vanish, taking with it everything I had once adored. I was a rotting timber. My life was the forgotten demise.
It was terrible.
Standing on the old wharf, I recalled ghosts dressed in a myriad of colors, some in rain slicks and some in smocks, standing side-by-side as the waves pressed down, my father walking amongst them. I could taste the brine and feel its sting, like tears from an angry goddess.
Nothing made a man feel so alive.
That world had been less in the way of yachts and more in the way of bait-and-tackle stores, but roles had reversed and things had grown chaotic. I could make out the places where old businesses had submerged, like caskets that had washed up in a storm, their sun-bleached wooden bones bobbing in the waves or sleeping shattered on the pavement, their cries coming from somewhere out-of-reach. I wanted to hold onto them but their futile gasps seemed almost inaudible, defunct signs with words like "sale" and "mark downs" and "everything must go" littering their forms, showing the hardship this area suffered in my absence.
Memories seemed the only occupants of a kingdom once adored.
Staring down at my hands as I baited my line, feeling all the wrinkles and the little cuts and the pains I had once experienced, I mentally traced the mark where I had brought in two gargantuan fish right off this landing, tasting the pressure put on hands as I accidentally tugged line with bare skin. It was a horrible feeling, knowing you might lose your fingers, becoming even worse as I thought about what had happened and why .
I recalled the aftermath, my mother and father screaming, the tandem of faces going from the elation of winning to the horror of seeing their son's hand open, bleeding like some half-assed suicide. They knew what I had done and what might happen.