One day, my curiosity got the better of me, and I sat on a nearby park bench and started reading a book. It was nearly dark when he packed up. I hadn’t planned on following him, but I couldn’t resist. I kept him in sight as he headed for the seedy side of town. The old brick tenement building he entered was older than dirt.
I reached the lobby in time to see him park the bike in a corner and head upstairs.
I followed him, the stench of old trash and other smells making me gag. He opened a door at the end of the hall and went inside. Summoning my courage, I rapped on his door. The door cracked open.
I pushed the door just a little to keep him from closing it on me. “Sir.”
“What do you want?” The door opened a little more.
“I don’t know.” I stumbled for words. “I was worried about you. You’re always at the same spot every day fishing but never seem to catch anything.”
The old man sighed and opened the door. “Come in. You’re not leaving until I talk to you.”
The small apartment was sparsely furnished and well worn. I noticed an antique sideboard covered with photos and medals.
“My family, when I had one. Coffee?”
I sat on the worn sofa while he made coffee.
He handed me coffee and then held out a wrinkled hand. “Lewis Cranford” I shook it and introduced myself.
I glanced at fishing poles leaning in the corner.
“Yeah, that.” He sipped his coffee. “Truth of the matter, I’m not fishing—I’m waiting.”
“Waiting?” He shifted in his chair.
“She was supposed to come, but she never did.”
“Who never came?”
Lewis leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes as if to remember. I suspect he remembered all too well.
“My daughter was supposed to meet me there. We were going to fish, but she never showed, “ he sighed.
“Tell me about it.” I leaned forward on the couch.
“It was years ago. We were supposed to meet and go fishing before she left for college. She never came.” Suddenly he seemed even older.
“Did she tell you why?”
“No, I never heard from her again. She just disappeared, and I never saw her again.”
“Why still go every day?”
Lewis wandered to the sideboard and picked up a photo. “This, this was her.: The picture was of a young woman about twenty at and from her clothes, taken a long time ago.
“Pretty.” I handed the frame to him.
” Pretty smart too— got a scholarship .”
“Why do you keep going back after all these years?”
He leaned against the sideboard, sadness on his face. “Because it's the only thing that I have left to live for. If I don’t go, I may not get up in the morning.”
I smiled. “I tell you what. I think it’s time I took up fishing. “