(Not this exactly picture, but something similar.)
Time: 10 minutes
"You promised. You promised!" I raced after him, kicking up sand behind me. With his long strides, he reached the boat well before I could catch up. His big callused hands scooped up the thick ropes and began to untangle them.
When I finally reached him on the dock, I stood there, panting and shaking hair out of my eyes.
"Dad . . . no . . . you . . . you promised . . .we could . . . we could take Charley . . . out."
We were supposed to go on our first fishing trip today. Today. My birthday.
"Son, I know I promised, but sometimes things get in the way of promises." He had finished untangling the ropes and was methodically wrapping them around his knuckles.
"But it's nice outside, look!" I waved my arms around. "See? It's not raining. It's not!"
"Not yet." My dad stared out at the bay, at the clouds gathering over the choppy gray water.
"See? See dad? We can still go. Real quick!" I slipped around him and stuck one leg into the boat. Into Charley.
"No." My dad stopped winding the ropes and stood silently staring at me. "Paul, get out."
I yanked my foot out of the boat so hard I nearly fell over in the sand and stomped off down the dock. When you're seven, he had said. Seven's the magic age. I took my first fishing trip with my dad when I turned seven.
Magic age, huh. I kicked at a splintered plank of wood until a piece broke off and flew out over the end of dock. Yeah sure.