Aracelis González Asendorf

For if the Flies



Aracelis González Asendorf was born in Cuba and raised in Florida.  Her short stories have appeared in Kweli Journal, Puerto del Sol, Sunscripts, Creative Loafing, and the anthologies 100% Pure Florida Fiction and All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color.  She has been a contributor at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a recipient of a New York State Summer Writers Institute scholarship, and a Pushcart Prize nominee.  A former English and Spanish teacher, she is currently an MFA candidate at the University of South Florida. 

            In the vinegary light of the bathroom mirror, my face reminds me of my Tío Domingo.  It’s just the cheeks.  As I’ve aged, mine have plumped and gotten fuller.  My uncle’s cheeks have always been full and round.  Sometimes our resemblance surprises me.  Not when I’m putting on makeup or fixing my hair, but when I glimpse myself unexpectedly in the windows of buildings, the mirrored walls of stores, or now, barely awake at five in the morning, in the unforgiving light of his bathroom.

            I smell Cuban coffee.

            “Buenos días.”  I enter the kitchen, expecting to find him.  Instead, I find Tía Teresa at the counter in her faded lavender nightgown.  I yawn and kiss the back of her head.  “Tía, what are you doing?”

            “Making sandwiches for your fishing trip.” She turns toward me, a mayonnaise-smeared spatula in her hand.

            “Tía,” I start softly, “we fixed sandwiches last night, remember?”  Yesterday, in preparation for the fishing trip, we bought Cuban bread, Serrano ham and a wedge of red-waxed cheese at the bodega.

            My aunt looks at me, blank and distant, and then suddenly, she is present.

             “Ay, niña.”  Tía Teresa shakes her head at the sandwiches.  She takes a deep breath that puffs out her chest and straightens her shoulders.

            A sad tenderness washes over me, and I take a deep breath too, expanding my lungs and widening my eyes to stop burgeoning tears.  

            “Bueno,” Tía shrugs, “now you have more, por si las moscas.”

            Por si las moscas.  I haven’t heard that in a long time, and a small laugh escapes me.  Literally translated, it’s nonsensical: for if the flies.  But idiomatically, it’s a precautionary action.  It’s something you do just in case because, well, because you just never know.  If the Boy Scouts were a Cuban organization, that should be their motto.  Why be prepared when you could be “for if the flies”?

            “Mi niña,” Tío Domingo joins us in the kitchen, “ready?”

            Sliding fast down the other side of fifty, I’m still my aunt and uncle’s niña.

            “Un cafécito and I’m good to go,” I say.

            Tío Domingo notices the sandwiches, his eyes meet my aunt’s, and she shakes her head.

            “No importa, Teresa.”  He leans into her, kissing her cheek.  “We can have those for lunch tomorrow.”  When Tío Domingo turns and I see his face, I realize that this, and not the fishing trip, is why my uncle was so insistent when he called two nights ago.

            “Niña, come fishing this weekend,” Tío said when I picked up.  I hesitated before answering when his name displayed on the caller ID.  Not because I didn’t want to speak with him, but because feigning cheerfulness took too much effort.  “When was the last time we went fishing?  When was the last time you even visited?”

            “Ay, Tío, it’s not a good time.”

            “Now is the perfect time, Niña.  The weather is good.  No more summer rains, not too hot, not too cold.  I told your father I want to go out one more time before we change the clocks.”

            “Because you think the fish bite better during Daylight Savings?” 

            “No, cabrona, because you know it takes me weeks to adjust, and then it will be too cold.”

            Born and raised in Cuba, my uncle has lived in Florida for close to fifty years.  To him, cold is anything below sixty-eight degrees.

            “I don’t think I can get away,” I said.

            The company where I’ve worked for twenty-five years is downsizing, just another lingering casualty from The Great Recession.  I’m one of the lucky ones.  I still have a job.  But I’ve seen what’s happened to many of my coworkers.  They’re out there, résumé in hand, looking for work for the first time in years.  It’s frightening.  I go to the office early and leave late.  I telecommute on weekends—trying to make myself indispensable.

            “You have to make time,” Tío said.  “And stay with your aunt and me instead of your parents.  They get to see you more often.”

            When I started to refuse again, Tío interrupted.  “Elena, it’s been too long since you’ve been home.”

            My uncle never calls me by my name.

            I arrived by lunchtime yesterday.

             “Nilda is coming over soon,” Tío Domingo now says to my aunt, insisting he help put away the extra sandwiches before we leave.  “She wants to keep you company.  Remember?  You’re going shopping today.”

            “We’re eating lunch at the mall.”

            Tío nods. “You’re eating lunch at the mall.”

            Nilda is my mother.  Tío Domingo is her younger brother.  He was sixteen when I was born.  When I was four years old and housebound with the chicken pox, he came over every day, and we set up camp on the couch.  We played Siete y Media and Old Maid and had Calamine-dipped cotton ball fights.

            When he turned twenty-one he married Tía Teresa, and I sprinkled flowers at their wedding.

            A few years later we were all refugees in the United States.

            When I was ten, Tía Teresa gave birth to my cousin Dominguito after a difficult pregnancy and a harrowing delivery.  There could be no more children for them.  Tío Domingo said that was all right; he had me, his niña, and now he had his boy.

            When I was twenty-eight I helped him bury Dominguito.

            It was July, a month after my cousin’s high school graduation.  The roads were wet from summer afternoon rain.  He was on his way to meet friends, headed north on Gulfshore Boulevard where the road curves, and he fishtailed.  Dominguito hit two oleander trees.  He hit the first one sideways, then bounced off and hit the other.  The second tree pinned him to the car, the first one fell on top of him.  My uncle masked his grief by saying that not only had he lost his son and a car, but fuck if he didn’t have to pay for two new oleander trees. 

            Tía Teresa’s mind started to wander then.  Suddenly she’d get a look on her face, and you knew she’d drifted away.  It wasn’t that she couldn’t remember; it was that she couldn’t forget.

            It was hard for me to forget, too.  I wasn’t just Dominguito’s cousin.  I was the sibling he didn’t have.  I was his third parent, the one who cared for him after school and during summer vacations while my aunt and uncle worked.  With my young cousin’s death, I stopped being those things and became something else.  I was still the daughter my aunt and uncle never had, but now I was the son they could no longer hug.  The milestone events of my life were doubly celebrated: the promising promotion that transferred me to a different town; my marriage to Nick; the birth of our son, Dominic—named partially for his father and partially for the boy who didn’t live.  They weren’t just my experiences; they were the ones Dominguito would never have.  I sheltered Tío Domingo and Tía Teresa.  I played up the happy for them, and toned down the sad.  Which is why, as I struggle to keep my job, I’ve kept my distance for months.


            Outside, the dampness of a humid night is visible in the dew that drips from Tío’s truck.  Faint pink light edges the morning sky and a hint of coolness blends with the still-present moisture signaling a turn in the seasons.  There is nothing to pack except a large cooler.  Tío keeps the fishing gear stored on his boat at the marina.  The cooler is heavy with ice, drinks, sandwiches, and bagged squid for bait.  I reach for one end to help lift it, but Tío Domingo shoos me away.  Squaring his legs in a sumo wrestler’s stance, he lifts the cooler onto the cargo hold and groans.  “Coño, it’s heavy.”

            The roads to the marina are completely empty at this early hour on a Saturday.  Coquina Shores, where I grew up, where Tío and Tía and my parents live, is a solid four-hour drive, down the Florida peninsula and west to the Gulf.   We cross streets whose names I’ve always known, but seem vaguely unfamiliar as we drive the Tamiami Trail.  The arteries of the town are the same, but the shops and buildings are different—what was once a local hardware store is now a sprawling Bed, Bath & Beyond. 

             “It’s incredible how much the town has grown,” I say more to myself than to my uncle.  “Remember how it used to be when we first got here?  Everything was new and it seemed so big.  For the longest time, I didn’t know it was tiny.”  When we came it was the mid-sixties, and the town was less than a quarter of the size it is today. 

            “You liked the automatic doors in all the grocery stores,” my uncle grins.  “You’d never seen them before.” 

            Tío Domingo shakes his head.  “I tell you, I drive this town every day and sometimes even I don’t recognize it.  And, it confuses your aunt.”

            “Why didn’t you tell me she’d gotten so bad?”

            “You have your own troubles,” he says and stares ahead at the empty road.  “There are good days and bad ones.  She can’t drive anymore.  She got lost coming home from Publix.  Teresa doesn’t remember how long she drove around before she pulled over and called me. You know where I found her?  Way north of town by that new hotel.  She was sitting in the car shivering like a wet dog when I found her.”

            “When was this?”

            “Three days ago.”

            “Ay, Tío.  Why didn’t you tell me when you called?”

            He shrugs.  “I’m telling you now, Niña.  It’s like your aunt enters a bubble of forgetfulness, then the bubble pops.”  Tío smacks his lips for emphasis. “And she’s herself again.  She remembers the names of neighbors back in Cuba she hasn’t seen in decades, but she can’t remember she made sandwiches last night.  Listen to this, last week I bought mangos at la bodega and she tells me that Ignacia—you don’t remember her, she lived down the street from us in Pinar del Río—Teresa tells me Ignacia was allergic to mangos.  Actually,” he pinches the air with his thumb and index finger, “not the mango itself, just the skin because it has a chemical similar to poison ivy and some people react to it.  De veras, she tells me all this.”  

            He sits up, gripping the steering wheel with both hands, his arms straight, “Next day, she forgot she had macaroni boiling on the stove and went out to work in the yard.  She heard the smoke detector; that’s the only reason she came back inside.  Tú sabes, Niña, that’s the most difficult part.  I mean, the past is the past, the good and the bad.  It’s the present.  It’s just really hard to live through the day when you can’t remember the present.  I try to be around as much as possible.  Your mother comes over often.  The family helps.  Qué se le va a hacer?  On a bad day, there are just too many bubbles.”

            I hear the resignation in his voice.  He’s been playing the sheltering game as well.

            “Look,” he says, “the old Dairy Queen is still the same,” and we head west toward the Gulf.  In the glow of dawn the road stretches long before us dotted with red, amber, and green traffic lights; a string of bright beacons guiding us toward the sea.


            My father and Tío Samito are waiting at the marina.  “Elena,” Papi grins at me.  My father’s face is long and lean.  Although he didn’t give me the leanness of his face, he did give me his olive eyes, the ones my grandmother gave him.  We had dinner together last night in the home where I grew up: my parents, Tío Domingo, Tía Teresa, and me. 

            Tío Samito steps toward me.  He’s not my real uncle; he’s my tío postizo, my artificial uncle, like dentures.  He’s Tía Teresa’s brother, and I haven’t seen him in a year.  Heels together he gives me an old-world bow, and kisses the top of my hand.  “Let’s take a look at you.”  He holds me at arm’s length by the shoulders.  Three times divorced, at seventy-four, Samito is short, stocky and boxer tough with raisin-like skin acquired from spending as much time as possible on his motorcycle.  Yet he is graceful, with a natural charm that makes a kiss on the hand unaffected.  He still runs a motorcycle shop.  He can fix them and restore them.  The baby boomers’ fascination with bikes provides Samito with so much business he says it’d be a sin to quit.

            Once on the boat, I bring in the bumpers and sit on a rear seat as we pull away from the marina.  The boat cuts through the tea-colored water slowly as we follow the channel markers, heeding the Make-No-Wake signs.  Mangroves grow along the shoreline.  Their spider-like legs arch toward the brackish water which turns lighter as we get closer to the pass where we’ll leave the intracoastal and enter the Gulf.  I stand and turn around to see the land as we leave it behind.  Tío Domingo looks over his shoulder; Papi and Samito look backwards as well.  The men are quiet.  They’ve left land behind before.

            We enter the pass and my uncle shouts a hang-on warning, then he pushes the throttle and the speed lifts up the bow.  I cup my hands around my mouth and shout to get his attention, and when he turns, I point to the front of the boat.  He nods, giving me a thumbs-up.  I maneuver to the front trying to keep my balance because Tío never lets down on the speed.  I sit at the very tip and grab hold of the chrome railing.  The boat rises with each swell and drops back to the water with a thud.  My body moves forward with each rise and backward with each drop.  Spray from the now clear, green water hits my skin, drying quickly in the wind, leaving behind traces of salt.  I close my eyes and drop my head back.  I love it.  I’d forgotten how much I loved it.


            Tío Domingo slows the boat to trolling speed and monitors a small screen.  It bleeps occasionally and he signals my father to look.  There’s much head nodding, and my uncle cuts the engine.

            “Ready to catch fish?” he asks.

            “How you fishing?”  Papi asks me. “Rollo or rod?”

            “Let’s start with rollo for old time’s sake.  If I don’t have any luck, I’ll switch.”

            A rollo is just a spool of heavy test line.  You cast it lasso-style above your head, and wear a small strip of rubber tubing on your index finger, guarding it from cuts, while the line dangles in the water.  When a fish strikes, you pull like mad and someone with a net comes to help.  That’s the way they fished in Cuba.  It’s the way they taught me to fish.

            I apply sunscreen before my hands start smelling like bait and strip to my bathing suit. 

            “You put on weight,” Samito says.

            I cringe because I know it. 

            “Looks good, like your mother,” he adds. “That Nilda, she gets better with age.”

            “It’s the great sex that keeps her mother young,” Papi teases.

            “Sí?” Tío Domingo laughs.  “Who’s she sleeping with?”

            “Hey, I have my little blue pill.”

            “Coño, chico,” Samito grins.  “I get those so regularly I asked my tax guy if I could claim my pharmacist as a dependent.”

            When I crack up, Samito asks, “Haven’t you missed your old men hablando mierda?”

            “I think I’ve missed a lot of things.  Tía is . . .” 

            “Tía is shopping with your mother today, and we are fishing,” Tío Domingo says and hands me a spool. 

            I see Tío Samito shake his head.  My father cuts up squid.  Tío Domingo gives me a chunk, I bait my hook and cast.  Samito and Papi follow.  Tío Domingo casts last.

            The day has lifted.  Free of clouds, the sky is now an endless blue.  The Gulf is calm and the boat sways on the water.  Forty minutes later, Papi has caught one yellow snapper, and that’s it.  Tío Domingo suggests we try another spot, but Samito wants to stay.  He says we need to make an offering to Yemayá for luck, and takes five beers from the cooler, pouring one into the sea. 

            There is Gatorade among the beers, which I’d prefer this early on an empty stomach, but I refuse to be the wimp in a group of seventy-plus-year-old men.  “Take out sandwiches too, Samito.  The fish aren’t the only ones who need to eat.”

            The first time I went fishing with my father and uncles—not off the pier or sitting by some canal but real fishing, miles out in the Gulf—I was in nineteen and Dominguito was alive.  Before that, I’d never been allowed to go.  Tío Domingo and Papi bought a boat several years after we’d been in the States.  Not like this one, much smaller.  Other relatives and friends had similar boats as well.  Fifteen-foot bow riders perfect for the intracoastal or following the shore, sturdy crafts that sped toward open water.  There is safety in numbers there.  They went out together as a small fleet. 

            The men worked routinely from sunrise to sunset.  They left for work every morning to paint houses, hang drywall, put down sod, do yard maintenance; dirty, plentiful work in the booming state of Florida.  They spent their days in grimy clothes that looked filthy even when they came out of the wash, and they donned them dutifully as they worked haggardly from day to day.  But on fishing days they came alive.  Bare-chested, wearing shorts free of work dirt, they set off before the sun rose, coolers packed with bait and beer.  They returned reeking of fish, sunburned and tipsy conquerors gloriously bearing their catch.

            On those evenings we’d gather at someone’s house for a fish fry.

            The women cooked the fish.  They never went on the trips.  I was dying to go; I asked every time.  It wasn’t appropriate.  It was a man thing.  They got raunchy.  I’d get seasick.  There was no place for me to go to the bathroom.  But then Tío Domingo and my father decided to take Dominguito out for the first time.  “If he can go fishing,” I demanded, “I can go.”  I helped raise my cousin. 

            “Who helps him with school assignments because I know English better than all of you? Who takes him to and from baseball practice?”  I asked my uncle and my father.  “I’m going fishing, too.”

            I had beer and sandwiches for breakfast.  I jumped in the open water to pee and hid my fear by voicing the Jaws’ dah-dum sound.  Maybe it was beginner’s luck, maybe Yemayá decided to nudge the door open for me.  Not two minutes after I’d swung the test line, dripping bait juice as it twirled above my head, I got a strike.  The fish fought hard, and I gave up trying to wind the line around the spool, pulling hand over hand, ignoring offers of help and my bleeding palms.  Fourteen pounds, and not just any fish, a grouper, the eating fish.  There’s a picture of me: a wadded mess of line at my feet, proudly holding the fish, its mouth open and body arced in a taxidermist’s dream pose.  


            Papi and Samito are on opposite sides of the bow, lines dangling from one hand, sandwiches in the other, beer cans carefully placed between their knees.  Tío Domingo and I are at the stern, side by side, talking softly.

            “So,” Tío says, wadding up his sandwich wrapper.  “Your work?  Explain to me, eh.”   He drains his beer, crushes the can, and gets another.

            “The company is trying not to go under.  Jobs got cut.  We’re expected to do more with less, but for now, at least I still have a job.”

            Tío points his chin at my beer, and obeying his command I finish it.  He hands me another. 

            “A lot of people, they have to start over,” he says.

             I nod and sip my beer.

            “It’s hard starting over.”

            “When you came here, you didn’t even have the language.  People do what they have to do.  But Tío, they don’t have to do it alone.”

            “Domingo,” Papi calls suddenly.  “Aquí no pica nada, chico.  You ready to try another spot?  We need to move on.”

            My uncle looks at my father, looks at me, then goes and starts the boat. 


            We are out so far that all there is to see is water.  To the west is the horizon, and to the east the coast is no longer visible.  The boat bounces forward rhythmically.  I sit on one of the middle seats and drop my head back, feeling the sun and wind on my face.  Even with sunglasses, I can see the sun’s orange glow behind my eyelids.  The food, the beer, and the droning sound of the engine lull me into sleep until the men’s shouts bolt me up.  It’s a pod of dolphins, their gray skin glistening as they arch in and out of the water.  My father is grinning, and my uncles, too.  They seem younger. 

            We stop to try our luck again.  Tío Domingo wants a rod and reel, and he reaches past me where they’re grouped in holders.  When a swell rocks us, he grabs my shoulder to keep his balance and I reach out to steady him.  He’s wearing sandals secured by Velcro straps, and his feet, usually clad in sneakers, are pale.  They seem vulnerable, and I look away.

            We end up in the same positions on the boat.  Samito quickly catches a grunt, and then another.  I bring up a yellow snapper.  Tío Domingo gets a grouper, but it’s below regulation size and he drops it back.  He sips his beer slowly before re-baiting his hook.

            Time passes, no one has gotten another strike, and my uncle says to me, “On really bad days, your aunt gets agitated, so I bring her out here.  Not this far out, I just hug the coast.  We cruise slowly, and it soothes her.  She likes it when I stop the engine and let the currents take us.  Sometimes, she doesn’t want to head back in, sometimes I’m the one that doesn’t want to return, so we drift until we’re both ready.”

             I look at him and listen.

            “Sometimes, I don’t want to return at all.  I never expected it.  It never occurred to me her mind would go like this,” he says.  “Y tan rápido, it’s going so quickly. And there is nothing I can do.  Nothing, except watch it happen.” 

            “This isn’t what you envisioned.”

“What?”  My uncle waves his arm around.  “Look at this boat.  Twenty-five foot cuddy cabin—three-hundred-fifty cubic inch inboard. This is exactly what I envisioned.”  He rubs his hand across his face.  “I just thought my son would be on it.”

            “I think about him,” I say.  “And you know, it’s the silly things I remember, like when I’d pick him up from baseball practice all dirty and damp, smelling of onion sweat, and he’d tease threatening to hug me.”

            “Oye,” Papi calls to us.  “You two have been psst, pssting, like two gossiping old viejas most of the morning.  If there’s a good chisme, I want to know, too.”

            “Now who’s an old gossip?”  I holler.

            “I’m ready for another sandwich,” Samito says.  “My fishing line is limp.”

            “Just like the rest of us,” Papi says, “it just needs a little Vee-agra.”

            Samito takes out a CD player.  “What we need is music.  We’re not frightening anything away.”

            Celia Cruz sings about how she keeps life spicy.  Samito makes his way to the beer cooler, singing along.  He dances a couple of tight steps in place, gets his beer, looks our way, and brags, “I’ve still got it!”

            “And I do not want to see any of it,” Papi says.

            “You’ve always been jealous of my moves.”

            “Are you still doing your tricky little disco-bembé-drop-the-handkerchief move?” I ask Samito.

            “Can Celia sing?”

            “Celia’s dead.”

            “Coño, verdad que sí.”  Samito laughs.  “It’s hard to keep track these days.  I drop my handkerchief every now and again, but I don’t fall to a push-up to pick it up with my teeth anymore.  Now I bend down, and pick it up with my hand,” he wiggles his eyebrows, “with sex appeal.”

            “Sí,” Tío Domingo laughs.  “Last month he sex-appealed himself straight to the chiropractor.”

            Samito waves his hand dismissing him.  He sits on the cooler, and rubs a cold beer can on his forehead.  “Tengo suerte.  Seventy-four and two of my favorite things are still popular: motorcycles and Latin dancing.  If I drop and don’t get up, I die happy.” 


            It’s eleven o’clock, and even though it’s early October, the sun is hot.  We decide to try one last place, and if the fish still don’t cooperate, we’ll head back.

            This time the four of us reach for rods.  The spools are an old tradition, simple and uncomplicated, a throwback to places and times no one wants to forget, but they’re not as functional.  We hold the same positions we’ve had on the boat all day.  Celia’s music is no longer on, and we’re quiet.  The water is still.  The whizzing of lines as they leave our reels cuts the silence, followed by hollow plops.

            Tío Domingo is still next to me.

            “We have to make arrangements,” I say to him.  “To help you help her.   You can’t take care of her by yourself.”

            “The family helps,” Tío says. “Nilda.  Your father.  Ask Samito.”  Tío calls out, “Right Samito?  Everybody helps with Teresa?”

            “You know we can’t leave her alone anymore, Domingo,” Samito says.  “She has to be watched por si las moscas.  What if instead of boiling pasta she’d decided to fry something the other day?”

            “Even with the family’s help, Tío, it’s too much.  You know it is.” 

            Tío Domingo’s shoulders go slack, he reels his line in slowly and he shakes his head.  “I can’t put her away, as if she were nothing, send her away.”

            I feel the pressure of tears rising, prickling my scalp and overwhelming my eyes, and I blink them back.  “It doesn’t have to be like that.  There are agencies, there are people, people trained to help and . . .”  My uncle’s eyes look as lost and distant as Tía Teresa’s did this morning.  “Tío, I can make the calls.  I know how to get information.  I’ll help you figure it out, okay?”

            Tío nods at me, blinking tightly.  

            “Ay, coño.  Now what?” Samito asks.

             I think he’s talking to us, but he’s talking to his reel.  Somehow Samito’s line has gotten tangled with my father’s.  Tío Domingo gingerly makes his way to the front of the boat to help.  I reel in as well.  I watch them together, talking over each other and at the same time, six hands on the knots.  I know that’s how I’ll remember their hands.

            I’m thankful for sunglasses, because this time I can’t stop my tears.   I wipe them away and breathe deeply.  I stand at the stern, take off my sunglasses and look at the water.  No matter what comes next, today is a good day.  Raising my arms, I arch my body, and dive into the sea, swimming down, rushing.  I swim until my lungs can’t take any more, and flip up.  I focus on the sunlight above, and scissor-kick, breaking through the surface.  When I dog-shake the salt water off my face, I see them peering down at me.

            “Pero, estás loca?” my father asks of me.  “What are you doing?  Mira eso, Domingo.  And no life jacket on her!”

            “Niña, did you have to make pipi?  This boat has a head, you know.”  Tío Domingo says.

            “This is more fun,” I say.  And dah-dumming loudly, I backstroke a circle around the boat.

             They cheer me on with “dale, dale,” shouts as I swim around the boat which drifts ever so slightly away with the flow of the current.  When I’ve come full circle, I use the motor as a step and they help me back in the boat.

            With lines untangled and fresh beers opened, we fish.  The muffled thumps of water lapping at the bottom of the boat keep a comfortable rhythm.  It goes on for a long time; I don’t really know for how long, until Samito sings, “Coño!”

            Something is giving him a good fight.

            “Aquí también,” Papi says quickly, “aquí también.”

            His fishing pole bends toward the water.  Papi leans forward as the fish takes out line, leans backward as he reels it in.  Samito brings up his fish first.  It dangles from his hook, but Tío Domingo is ready with the net and scoops it up: a fair size grouper.  A keeper.  Papi brings his in too, and Tío Domingo moves quickly from Samito to my father, net at the ready.

            “Dinner!”  Papi grins at his fish, another grouper, slightly larger than Samito’s.

            Although we stay a good while longer, each man recounting the story of his recent catch as if we hadn’t all been there as witnesses, there are no more strikes.  We begin to head back as the sun drops down the other side of noon.  The return trip is slower.  There is no hurry. 

            We’ll gather to eat fish tonight at my uncle’s house. 

            We see dolphins again.  They swim in and out of the water, and we watch them until they stop surfacing.  Then, we follow their shadows until we lose them in the light shimmering off the sea. 

©The Acentos Review 2015