Fisherman

The little bloat slowly appeared on the horizon. The air was heavy and foggy, the rain was dripping and the sun was setting. The clouds distand white clouds had an orange glow. Far away, beyond the horizon, the weather was charming.

The man on the boat was visible now. He was wearing a white shirt, which was already greenish brown from all the fish and dirt. His favorite hat was sitting ajar on the top of his grizzled head. Jack was slowly rowing, not minding the rain which was becoming more and more violent. The sun had already set when he reached the small town port. Jack parked the boat on his favorite spot and tied it to the wooden column. The he preceeded to unloading the boat. Not like there was much to unload. There were no signs of fish the whole day, so Jack took his fishing equipment, including a small brown box he was always carrying around, just in case. Holding all this in his hands, he then realized that it was raining, so he put them down again, put on his worn out coat which was hidden in a secret compartment, not to get wet, and put it on. The hat was soaked with rain, but Jack didn’t mind. He had a distant feeling that something had changed, but he couldn’t understand – was it him? Or had something around him changed? But how could everything change in one short day?

As he said goodnight to the janitor, who was snoaring heavily, Jack thought of his wife. What will she say when she sees that her husband hasn’t brought back any food, though he promised he wouldn’t leave them hungry for yet another day. They had bread and cheese, but the kids wanted something to satisfy their childish food craving. They wanted real food.

Jack walked slowly. He was strolling. He wasn’t ready to face his wife. He loved her, but he was started to feel afraid of her. Afraid of the image of himself he saw in her eyes. The image of a poor, worn out man, who had lost his price and pride.

Halfway through the road to his house, he discovered in himself a strange excitement. The excitement he had missed so greatly – the excitement of strolling in the rain. Something so simple, yet so inspirational for a person like Jack.

He smiled slightly and went on. As he saw the door of his house, so identical to all the other doors in a long row, yet so familiar he could find it even when blindfolded. The lights of his house were out, so he decided to sneak in. But he had no key. He sighed, stood in front of the dark wooden door for a few minutes, and touched the handle. The door opened. His was was a smart girl, she knew he would be late, and that he would forget the key, so she left the door open and went to sleep.Yet again, his wife outsmarted him. Before Jack left the house in the morning, as she was ironing the children’s shirts, she told him it was a bad day to go out, that there would be no fish so maybe Jack could buy it instead of catching it. They had to have a little money saved up.  But Jack refused. He knew the weather was was going to be bad, but he was determined to catch the fish. Besides, their “just in case” money was no longer. He had to pay a debt he was very ashamed of, so it was gone, but the wife knew nothing.

Jack silently put the equipment on the floor, put the soaked hat on the coathanger, took of his coat and hanged it as well. The small box was still in his hands. He looked up the stairs. There was no noise. His wife and children were asleep, but he wasn’t in the mood of sleep.

Jack tiptoed to a small room which was adjacent to the living room. The living room was cluttered with toys and clothes, so he had to be careful not to step on anything and make noise.

He went into the room. The room which used to be his cabinet. It still was, but he didn’t use it a lot. The writing table, a lamp, a bookcase and a chair. It was still there, unmoved for years. But the room now was filled with used and unneeded things. Old oil lamps, a broken television, old toys and so on. Jack moved away a broken chair and sat on his good chair. He put the box on the table, next to an open notebook. The notebook was blank. It was new, as was the pen and ink next to it. There weren’t new, but he bought them years ago and never once used them. The pen was the last thing he bought exquisitely for himself.

Jack lit a cigarette and sat in silence. There was only the sound of rain dripping on the concrete outside. The windows were blurred from the raindrops, so there wasn’t much to see outside, but still Jack’s stare was firm on the windows.

He remembered. Remembered how he used to love the rain because he took up fishing. Walking in the rain was his favorite thing to do when he wanted something to inspire him. It was during rain that he had written his best essays and short stories. Maybe it was because everything is calmer in the rain. There are no people outside, like that very night. The streets are empty and silent. It silence of the dripping rain is overwhelming.

But Jack couldn’t write any more. His wife was against it. She said it wouldn’t bring enough money into the house, especially when she was pregnant with the second child. Jack knew she was right. His wife, too, had dreams and goals, but not everything is possible in a world were getting a job is as hard for a young man as it would be for an old hag. So Jack gave up writing. He didn’t blame anyone for this loss, only the world. He started fishing for food and money. At first it wasn’t easy, but the he became better and better. Fishing was natural to him now. If he called himself a writer before, now he called himself a fisherman. But that night, he was a writer again. Something had clicked in him. He had seen the rain many times. IT had rained many times when he was out in the sea fishing, but never once had he felt so strange and good.

Jack lit out a cigarette and looked at blank page of his pen. It looked so seducing, so forbidden. He felt like if he touched it, it would forever change the way things were. The way he had gotten used to life. The sound of rain, the sleeping wife and children upstairs, the provoking thoughts in his head made him vulnerable. For a long time Jack knew he missed something. This something used to fill his life before. How had he forgotten. How could he not think about it every day.

-It is never too late – Jack told himself and picked up the pen.

Marlen is sweeping the floor with an old, frizzy broom. I’m sitting on the couch made of wooden planks and blankets, with two stools underneath standing as feet. The smell and smoke of yellow Camels fills the air and makes it look thick and dustier than usual. I look up to the skylight and see small sun rays trying to get through the thick blurred glass. The light in the room is the same as always – the blurred rays on the dusty floor and shadows in the corners of the room. Sometimes it gets hard to tell the weather while sitting in this dusty room, since there are no real windows and the door is always closed. Plus, the building itself never get sunlight straight, so it always looks cold and dark inside.

Marlen is sweeping and sweeping and as my cigarette ash drops on the floor, I watch her in total silence. I watch as the dust spins round and round as she sweeps around it, beginning to look like a small tornado. I think of the world. The world as this garbage Marlen is trying to get rid of. There are small pencil, the ones that are too small to hold between your fingers, cigarettes butts and ashes, different colored  clips, bottle heads, lighters, tiny scratches of paper, packets of single-use coffee, teabags… Everything we ever used in this room is now lying on the floor and my friend is trying to get rid of them. This is one of those moments where you start thinking about your life and what to do with it, what to do with yourself and why things have become this way. You know that these thoughts are just for a moment, everything will be the way it was before, but you hope it won’t. You sit there, frozen to the couch and look at something so remotely ordinary  and you are scared of what will happen the second you move, or even shift you leg.

I wait for my senses to get me back to normal. They slowly do.

I hate Marlen. I always hated her. She’s like so many of my friends who I accidentally befriended. Through talks about music, taste, movies, food and all. I know too many people who are like that, I should get rid of them, I know.

Marlen and I used to talk so much. About Hemingway, Pink Floyd, Guy Ritchie, Bregovic, Hollywood, Independent films, trash movies. We could talk about anything. Religion. Family. Marriage. Friends. Art. University. Everything but sex. She is afraid of sex. She starts screaming when she hears the word, but when it comes to erotica in art, she’s all for it. She’s an art hypocrite. She hates something, but she loves it in art. She hates the color pink, but she uses in the most in her oils. I hate her for that. People don’t notice small details like that, but I do, that’s why I hate her, and that’s why I hate people. They don’t notice everything I do and they blindly believe everything they see, everything the people want other people to see in them.

I haven’t talked to Marlen for months. I don’t really want to, not like she asked me to. She annoys me with her innocence and childish behaviour. She’s dumb and totally not ready for this world. This cruel world, as people say. She’s too innocent for it, too soft, too fragile. But I don’t know anymore. Maybe she’s faking it. Maybe I think she’s faking it because I’m jealous of her imagination and her artistic nature. The way she carries herself with her long red hair, like a fairy. The way she hates herself and thinks she’s not worth anything. The way boys always like her, talk to her, and nobody pays attention to me. The way she is 2 heads higher than me which makes me feel like a dwarf. I hate her for sitting on her knees like a fairy and picking up the stuff that might actually come in need from the dusty garbage on the floor, not giving a fuck about dirtying her hands a clothes. She’s an artist. She doesn’t care about dirt.

I’m tired. Tired of being tired. Tired of analyzing everything and everyone but still my brain does it for me everytime! I’m tired of people asking why I’m not talking so much anymore. I’m tired of not having a reason for not talking. I’m tired of talking to everyone, tired of people. Tired of their problems, their happiness, their friends and boyfriends. Their disfunctional and functional families. I want something for myself. Want to feel like a character, not a spectator. There are two roles in life – The main part, and the supporting -The one that throws in witty comments in a few scenes and then never appears again. The one that spends the whole movie doing everything for the main character, but gets nothing in return. Because the supporting character doesn’t do it for her benefit, she does it for her friend and her happiness. Because the supporting character is a fucking saint. Yes, I’m good at sarcasm, cynicism, irony and all.

I’m tired of my cynicism. I want to trust people, I want to believe, love their flaws. But I can’t.

I put out my cigarette just as Marlen tries to empty the ashtray. We exchange slight smiles. Mine is bitter. Hers is sweet.

Bitter. Bitter. Bitter.

Why won’t she talk to me? Does she hate me? Does she know I hate her? I hate the mystery of her? Maybe she’s just too much into her work – cleaning out the room, as I sit there like an empress on the throne, not bothering to move my ass even a little bit as she triess to sweep around the couch. It’s nothing. She won’t say anything anyway, she’s too much of a coward.

I think about lighting another cigarette just as Marlen ties the garbage packet and throws it in the corner. She swipes her long hair from her face and looks around for a place to sit. I don’t move an inch. She sees a small stool under the low table and puts in to the wall. She sits on it and leans on the wall painted with figures of Jesus and his other Saints. I watch her slow, elegant fingers light a cigarette and put it into her lips. No wonder boys jack off to her.

The cigarette butt is in the newly emptied ashtray.

-So what have you been up to? Sorry we couldn’t have a chance to talk like we used to. – She says in her waiflike quiet voice.

-Nothing much, you? – I say, smiling at her.

-Same here. Hey I noticed you haven’t been yourself lately, too quiet. Is something wrong?

I don’t want to answer the question. But I do.

-Well, nothing much, just tired and sleepy, you know me, I’ll get better.

-Okay… – After a long pause she says something I have been dreading. Something that will bring me back to reality and make the bitterness of the last 20 minutes go away. – You know, yesterday I watched this awesome movie!