“Where are you going, honey?”
“I’m going out to the lake again”
“You’ve been at this for months now, and you haven’t caught anything yet.”
“Today is going to be different, I just know it.”
“Well alright I hope you have fun, dear.”

He walked to his car with his hands in his back pockets. He sat down and rolled down the frosted windows. Eyes closed, forcing a smile on his face he took the deepest breath he had ever taken in his life.

“Today is going to be different.”

By now he knew the drive to the lake like the back of his hand. But today he was not on autopilot while driving. He had his eyes wide open while driving, fully alert. Waving at the drivers in the cars next door, wishing them well in their day. A driver had aggressively cut in his lane without signaling. Before, he would have gotten angry and flipped the driver off. But today he tried to understand – maybe that driver has to reach the hospital.

“Today is going to be different.”

He parked by the restaurant where the concrete road and grassy entrance to the lake met. Today was the first time he actually took the time to realize the beauty of this intersection. Above the roads was a hazy yellow and gray, there was a heavy fog blurring the street lights. But where the street lights didn’t reach, the lake was lit up with the lanterns other fisherman carried with them on their boats. He put his fishing rods, bait, and timer into his boat and transported it to the lake.

Waiting on the lake surface for four hours now, nothing was biting yet. But he believed, believed that today would be the day he gets his first catch. He imagined, thought of how happy he would be to tell his wife the news that he had caught something today! He blushed at the thought of his wife congratulating him. Oh man how great he would feel. Just then it so happened that he felt a pull on one of his lines. Ecstatic. Excited. Surprised. He jumped off his seat and grabbed the fishing pole. Was it a small or big fish? The pull was quite strong. As he was reeling in and pulling the pole back again he thought of how he would have a dorky grin spread across his face, chuckling about how he had his first success. He pulled and reeled, the resistance was getting stronger. He was starting to sweat now. His hands started to get sore and then felt a sudden push forward. Pushed to the end of his boat, his stomach hit it’s wall. His pole had snapped and the fish had gotten away. Sweating, panting, he sat back down in his seat and kicked his feet up onto his backpack.


He had been trying to catch something for seven months now. Looking out into the the rest of the lake wrapped by the heaviness of the fog, he sighed.

He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, then sighed again. He wouldn’t be going back home with fish to brag about to his wife. He wouldn’t have be smiling on the drive back home. Today was in fact just like the past 200 days where he would come back empty handed. Today was not different. He did know that he had to come back tomorrow, try something new. Maybe practice different reeling techniques. He knew that he would eventually catch something, but after the past 200 tries, today, he was tired.

With his feet still perched up on the backpack he folded his arms on top of his head and closed his eyes. Exhausted, he quietly dozed off into a deep sleep.

Author: Sam Shih

Hi I'm Sam! I'm a recent graduate of Swarthmore College with a BA in both Computer Science and Asian Studies.

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