Raubine’s legs wobbled on the floating dock.
A sign on a boat read, “Work like a captain, Play like a pirate!”
Her eyes tracked the flight path of a large white heron, hoping it was a whooping crane lingering on its journey northward.
She looked down into the water where aquatic plants surrounded the dock.
She set her rod and reel inside the starboard rail.
Raubine missed her father and their fishing trips in warm weather.
She wanted him here now, telling her the best way to cast and draw fish out from under the dock.
He always caught enough to eat, never more, never less.
She choked up.
She could barely remember how to hook a worm so she asked advice at the bait and tackle shop on the highway, three short blocks from the dock.
They sold her a cardboard cup of nightcrawlers and a few artificial lures to try out.
She stopped by the adult beverage store and bought two six packs of craft beer, wanting the high alcohol content to drown her sorrows for the weekend.
Stepping down into the boat, she looked across the small bay where the local yacht club marina was hosting a Mother’s Day Gala featuring local celebrities auctioning off an afternoon with them on a two-hour regatta.
Raubine took a deep breath.
She and her father had sat on this dock how many times?
She grabbed the mast and sobbed.
Had he been gone five years already?
She looked at all the boats on the water.
The last time they sat together on the yacht, he had told her about the radiation poisoning he had suffered at the nuclear plant, guessing it was going to shorten his life. They laughed it off because, no matter what, they were going to outlive every fish they caught that day.
Raubine removed the moorings and pushed off, leaving the sails furled. She’d paddle around the bend, out of sight of the regatta, to a spot her father loved.
It didn’t take long.
She dropped anchor.
From inside the hold, she removed a large tackle box and opened it to reveal it was a container for her father’s ashes.
She poured his ashes into the water around the yacht, crying the whole time, knowing he was where he always wanted to be.
Raubine pressed her arms to her chest, wanting her father’s hug one last time.
There had been many men in her life but no one like her father.
She closed the tackle box and picked up the rod. She still had time to catch something for dinner.