I know. I know it seems silly.
But last night, my heart cracked in half, audibly.
It began as a pleasant enough night-- I thought I'd grab my casting rod and head out to Karinokka, the rock far out at the end of the property. I've been fishing every night, mostly catching pike. Over the past week or so, I've been catching small ones-- probably legal to keep, but nothing to be proud of, so I'd been putting them back in the sea.
The sun was shining straight down on me at 6 pm. I cast from 6 or 7 different spots but I've been pretty loyal to this one rock almost all summer. I just have a good feeling about it, and most nights I end up there, saying to myself "just one more cast, one more cast," until I give up and go home.
So I cast out to the left, and the second the lure hits the water, it's a bite. A mighty bite. "Whoa," -- out loud, reeling in, I'm saying "Sweet Mary, Holy Shit," frantically. I see the fish take the end of my line 10 yards right, ten yards left. This thing is not fucking around. I reel harder and harder-- with a normal size fish, at this point, it would be thrashing at the surface and I'd be dragging it onto the rock, but this is no normal size fish. It pulls itself deep under. Finally I get it to the rock.
Like an idiot (I've NEVER EXERIENCED a big catch before!!! HOW WAS I TO KNOW???)I back up, the logic being that I will keep the angle of the line consistent to how it was dragged in, thereby not allowing the hook to get loose. Logic-- there was no logic at that moment, only pure joy. I was looking the single hugest pike I'd ever seen dead in the eyes-- pike are ancient fish, they look like crocodile, with their muddy green scales and their flat-billed razor-filled jaws. Its body was probably between three and four feet long, one huge muscle, its head like a bowling ball. What a beauty. What an ancient, lucky athlete, to have gotten so big, to be so ferocious.
And he was mine. The champagne we would pop! The photos we would snap! It would be a legendary catch.
And just as I pulled him onto the rock, his body halfway on land, the line snapped. Just like that. The beast flopped his head up, stalled a second, and dipped back down into the dark Baltic sea, with my lure in its gullet, to go bleed its way to some nearby shore and have the gulls and the muskrats pick at its ribs.
I threw my body on the rock and banged with my fists, like the babiest baby, and cried. Then I ran home, crying. Of course, the satellite guy was there working on the cables, and half the family was present to cut down all the trees behind our house so that my mom can watch tennis on BBC.
The workmen all stopped in their tracks, as I, purple faced, wailed obscenities and spouted tears. I don't think they'd ever seen a 25 year old woman act like that. I've never seen myself act like that. Not over a man, not over a movie, not over a botched assignment or a social gaffe. Never in my life have I been so totally and completely saddened, in my blood, in my whole being.
"She lost a fish," seemed to be the explanation. But words don't capture it. It wasn't a fish. It was a beast, a once-in-a-lifetime catch, the kind of animal that nets and hawks and other fish mostly keep from even happening.
Everyone's at tea. I have to look them in the eye. I haven't cried myself to sleep since I was eleven probably. I can't remember the last time the insides of my ears felt cold and tickly from catching tears for hours as I lay on my back in bed, stifling my snotty gasps out of embarrassment.
I'm a grown woman, dammit.