stories

The Fish - page 1

What made its way out that afternoon from the scruffy grove of trees and onto the riverbank was a group of three'a boy and his parents. Judging from his height, the boy looked to be at least seven or eight. His parents, though, looked no older than their late twenties. The wife's way of speaking and gestures were especially babyish. She wore a white skirt made of some hard material.
It's so shallow, the wife said, looking into the clear stream. I'm taking my shoes off. I'm going to go in now, okay?
I see some fish, the boy said.
Any number of fish, each just a few centimeters long, glittered in the sun. There were a great many fish. No matter where you looked, the river seemed shallow for its width. About ten meters ahead was a sandbar. It was almost as big as a double bed, with either end forming a V-shape.
Let's go over there, the wife suggested.
Sounds good, the husband agreed.
The three happily took off their shoes. Compared to his parents, who were obviously in a silly, playful mood, the child seemed the most restrained. The husband hiked his trousers up to his knees. He couldn't imagine that the river would be deeper than that anywhere between the bank and the sandbar. The wife pranced about in the cold water, squealing something about how a fish had just brushed up against her leg. The family slowly made their way to about the halfway point, and the husband found that the water there came up, in fact, to just below his knee. The hem of the child's shorts was wet. But that was as deep as it got and the three soon climbed up on the sandbar.
All ashore, the husband said.
They'd been told that almost no one ever visited, although the sandbar was an expanse of sparkling sand free of fallen leaves or stray weeds. The couple lay on their backs on the sand, slightly apart. Pretty soon the husband grew drowsy. The child, his expression bored, wandered about the water and sand. A bird was singing.