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The Fish This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The forest is quiet and a light snow slowly settles on the treetops. Wolves howlin the distance. The moon illuminates the sky and snowflakes glisten as they fallto the ground in the cool Saskatchewan winter night. My friends and I come infrom a long day of fishing at Quill Lake and start a fire to warm ourselves.We've fished that lake a thousand times, but for some reason, today wasdifferent. As we sit around the fire, I reminisce about what happened earlierthat day.

The hike down the trail to our hidden fishing spot bore thememories of fishing years ago when we were children. My friends spread out andstarted fishing. I sat down, assembled my fishing pole and cast my line into thewater. All the days when I went fishing, I would just fish. But today wasdifferent.

Where am I going in life? I thought to myself. Through thetrees one of my friends yelled, "Jay, you catch anything yet?" Therewas a brief moment of silence. It seemed like an eternity until I answered,"No, nothing yet, Joe."

Mentally I hooked something. It wastaking me forever to reel it in, to find out what was on the other end. Then Irealized what it was. After I graduated from high school, I spent every day doingthe same thing. Going to the same job, day after day. Fishing in the same spot,day after day. I really had nothing to call my own. No companion. Nothing.Something was missing in my life, and I needed to find what it was. I picked upmy fishing pole and tackle box. I had no idea where I was going, but I was goingsomewhere.

I walked for what seemed like hours until I found a new spotthat looked good. I set my tackle box down and began to fish. I looked around andthen out across the lake. Far across, on the other side, I could see where theold fishing spot was. The old fishing spot ... from that day on I would never gothere again. I decided that change in my life was good.

I cast my line andwatched it settle on the water. Slowly it sank. I reeled in the lure and suddenlyfelt a tug on the line. I set the hook and brought in the fish. It was thelargest salmon I had ever seen come out of this lake.

I brought the fishup on shore, removed the hook and stepped back to look at the monster. Itthrashed about for a while, but then it stopped and looked up at me. It lookeddirectly into my eyes. I sat down and stared at the fish and then nudged it backinto the water, watching it swim away.

I packed up my things once againand headed to the other side of the lake to find my friends. The walk back seemeddifferent. The trees seemed greener and the walk itself more peaceful. I realizedthat the fish was me and I was the fish. Both of us had nothing to call our ownand all the fish wanted was to return home, where it belonged.

Asilence-breaking pop from the fire brings my attention back to the present. Myfriends and I sit around the blazing fire. The thoughts of the fish join mymemories. I look at my friends' faces and remember the times that we have spenttogether. We have always told each other everything, and have always been therefor each other. But today is different. I won't tell them or anyone else aboutthat fish.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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