Another day, another early morning nudge from his father. The day began just as any other with Joma setting up his small skiff with spear fishing gear. Upon reaching his quota, he would make his way to one of the large storage boats, drop off his catchment, before again going about his business.
As he began to push his boat into the surf the chief called out, “Joma, you’re with me today”.
Joma stood at the shore stunned; it was not often he was called to work one of the storage boats with his father. On the rare occasion he would fill-in when the seasoned fishermen were unwell. It didn’t take him long to realise the events of the last few days had precipitated his call-up, in particular conversations with his mother and Mariusz had circulated their way back to his father.
Work on the larger boats differed. The crew were on the look out for smaller boats of the fleet bringing in fish or news about conditions, which could be relayed to others. In addition, the larger boats were fitted with nets to capture baitfish. During quieter periods, the men would cast a line for deeper dwelling fish that the spear fisherman were not capable of catching.
It was mid-morning when Joma grabbed a rod and found a quiet spot on the boat. Not long after, the chief made himself comfortable alongside of him.
“The sea is calm today, she can turn quickly though. Have I told you about the time Manny and I were nearly lost at sea?” his father asked while casting his line. Joma rolled his eyes, “Yes father, many times. The seas were quiet when you set sail but soon a storm rolled in. Your boat was overturned and you were forced to swim for more than an hour back to shore,” Joma replied obediently. “Ahh, so you do listen to me!” his father chuckled.
“Joma, what you overheard the other day…” the boy cut in before the chief could finish, “It’s OK father, forget it,” Joma said swifty.
“It’s not safe to leave son. Not alone,” the chief spoke seriously.
“I must find my own path,” the boy said as something tugged on his line.
“What makes you think your path is out there?” replied the chief looking out at the vastness of the seas.
By now Joma was grappling with his rod, using his hips to draw in the fish. “What makes you think it is here?” Joma managed to say between efforts. “Ahh, darn it!” Joma grunted as the tension went out of his line.
“Where a man lives does not make for a fulfilling life, Joma, it is what is inside. Remember, wherever you go, you always take yourself,” his father said sagely while calmly hauling in a large fish.