stories

The Fish - page 5

The wife tended to wobble, so the husband stuck close to her. They made slow progress. Her skirt and his trousers were both wet straight to the top of their thighs.
Hey! The wife suddenly let go of her fish and grabbed onto her husband.
Oh! Oh well, the husband said, looking dispiritedly after the fish. It didn't occur to him, apparently, to let go of the fish he was holding or to support his wife. Okay, grab onto me.
The boy had reached the bank now and was standing there watching. Come on! Hurry up.
O-o-ow! The wife leapt up with a yell, then, even though they had just made it almost halfway across the river, started back for the sandbar alone, churning up the water as she went.
Huh? Wait! Where are you going? The husband ran after her. When she got to the sandbar, the wife took a look at the back of her leg. She had a shallow horizontal cut about two centimeters long, stained with a drop of blood.
What happened?
A fish bit me.
Fish don't bite.
But look at this.
The husband knelt down and looked at her leg. He traced the cut with a fingertip. So a fish skimmed past your leg. But why'd you turn around? We were almost halfway there.
The wife glared at him. This was closer.
You stupid ___ The husband stopped himself just before the words could slip out. Yeah, but you know, he said, we do have to get across at some point.
No, I don't want to.
The couple stood up and helplessly looked at their son, who was on the opposite bank.
What's the matter?
It's your mother. She says she doesn't want to cross the river.
Why?
Just look at that! The wife started crying. They're everywhere.
There were more fish now. They swam upriver in schools. Every so often one would hurl itself out of the water and dive back down.
You better hurry up. The child spoke calmly, putting on his shoes.
At last the husband released the fish he was still holding. All right. I'll carry you.