The Puffin (iv)

With a grin, I slipped the first worm onto the hook and let it fly over the water. It cut through the thick fog, I could not see where it had landed but determined when it hit the water by the vibrations that swam up the fishing line. Like most games of great patience, fishing was as easy to me as doing nothing – which was all it really took after all.

My patient will have been trained, I was not born with it. Whenever my father would leave for the sea – in which he would be away for up to two years – I would hug his knees and beg him, “Please stay Pa, I’ll miss you.”
“Be patient Leif, be patient and it won’t seem like so long.” I didn’t recognise it as he said these words but there was a deep sadness in his eyes. He was lying, it would be a very long time till I saw him again. Even Hel, who has been patiently hiding underground for eternity till she can snatch Baldr’s soul, would feel the strain of this wait. But I took my father’s advice on faith. I started practising being patient being standing and doing nothing for hours. It was a way to spend the hours after playing with toys became boring, and it was better than the small games boys with no fathers play: skipping stones, throwing a ball against a wall, talking to toys, learning how to shave by yourself. I played all these games but the most challenging were the waiting game. I started staring at walls, then my feet and then finally the sky. My mother thought it was strange and wanted to take my to a doctor but when I told her I was trying to bring back Pa quicker she burst into tears,

But all the patience training I had done was wasted, when finally it could have have been used to save my life, for the line began to pull just a minute later after casting it. There was a great commotion behind the fog. Squawks and garbled screeches echoed out of a foam cloud which I pulled closer and closer. What crazed beast had I wretched from the deep? Is that the Kraken’s wicked beak which cries hungrily for my gizzards? I pulled with all my strength as it resisted with a courage that was unusual for a fish. By the time I had it in sight my arms felt limp. Falling to my knees with exhaustion I looked up to see with disbelief it was a woven cage that my hook had pulled in – and sinking further into disbelief I saw that imprisoned within this cage was a Puffin, deep brown eyes stared out from behind the bars where frightened but neither blinked nor looked away from me – its would be reaper. A caged puffin just like the dream I had of my father’s bird trawler. Had the fog plucked it from my leaking dreams to trick me? I hauled onto the iceberg, this was no trick it was physically there and it began to make a confused moaning sound. I nodded in agreement with whatever lonely feeling the trapped bird had expressed. It went silent and all was quiet, we were like a frigid pair at a dance who both have no idea what to say or do next.

<- Part 4 of 9 ->


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