“The homeless man returned!” I exclaimed and ran towards the shore.
“Hello!” I extended my hand to him. Only now I understood how much I missed him.
“Hello boy,” he squeezed my hand in return.
The man was smoking and sitting on a large rock by the water in a dark robe tied with a belt. Now he seemed more or less put together and not as disheveled and filthy as before.
“You’re healed?” I asked.
“Yes, I had surgery and the hospital sent me to rehab, but I escaped.”
“You did the right thing by running away,” I said in support. “Don’t tell my dad about this. He is a nurse and will want to send you for treatment again.”
“Thank you for the heads up.”
“Do you want to go fishing together?”
“No, some other time, not today,” he squinted suspiciously at my approaching dad. “Okay, boy, I have to go, someone is waiting for me,” he threw down the cigarette butt, got up, and walked along the beach.
The grey heron noticed him first, focusing its tiny sharp eyes on him and flapping its wings.
On that day my fish cage was full of fish!
Late at night I lay in my bed with my eyes half closed. It seemed to me that I am not at home but still at the salt marsh holding the rod and someone mysterious in the water is pulling on the hook. I blissfully breathed in the smell of the seaweed and fallen leaves.