This story is dedicated to all the women who have loved me…
On a fine summer day a happy boy walked in the country. Strolling a path shaded by trees, he wore loose leather shoes that padded softly along dirt tracks covered by long grasses. Light flickered in front of his eyes as mulberry trees cast fat shadows on him.
Feeling the sun’s warmth, the boy got more excited.
He decided to run. Without any hesitation, he darted across little dips and mounds and over fallen trunks. The sunshine covered and uncovered his eyes over and over again.
Cutting across the trail ahead of him was a rushing stream. With shadows tricking his eyes the boy didn’t see it. In an instant he tumbled over the rocks at the side of the water. Arms in front of him, the boy fell into the rushing flow.
However, instead of a splash there was a thud.
Then a slap.
And then another.
Suddenly, and without any good reason, the boy became a fish. His nose got long and his body grew covered with scales. The hair on his head disappeared and his skin became oily. Where his arms were, fins grew. Where his feet stood, his tailfin flicked. His new body glimmered in the sun, and the boy was suddenly a human-sized fish.
He stood dumbfounded at the side of the stream.
He didn’t want to stop being a boy! He didn’t want to give up childhood! He floundered and flopped, dove and rose, splished and splashed all over the place, for days and weeks and months.
Other fish never really became his friends, and the boy/fish played by himself. He was happy enough.
Until the day everything changed.
That day, a girl rode her shiny bicycle slowly by the creek’s edge. The boy/fish had seen her before when he was just a boy. Different from then though, today he watched her carefully, in a way only a boy/fish would.
The girl stopped her bicycle and got off it. She leaned close to the creek and smiled, as if she was staring right at the boy/fish. Looking silently into the water for a few moments, the girl suddenly stood up. She tossed her head over her shoulder once, turned and ran away for no reason.
The boy waded there for a minute before noticing the wonderful gift she left behind. Leaning against one of the squatty summertime mulberry trees was her shiny bicycle. After looking at it for a few minutes and waiting for the girl to come back, the boy/fish got so excited that all the sudden, he jumped out of the water and onto the bike!
He started riding, and he kept riding. To this day, the fish in the creek have never seen him again.
However, locals from town say that they have seen him riding around. And every now and then, the girl sits quietly by the creek again, always with that same smile on her face.
So, if you have a minute, go down to the creek and sit under those broad mulberry trees lining the edge and keep your eyes open. If you see a pretty girl standing next to the bicycling fish, you’ll know what happened.