Trevor Trevalin loved to fish. Not far from his mountain cottage, a rocky stream ran full with native trout. When he was a young boy, his father took him fishing every Wednesday. They would toss their lines into the rocky stream, at the sharp bend just below the Rumble’s dam. They wouldn’t speak a word, not until a fish was fighting on the line, then Joe Trevalin would utter a single phrase, “got one” and his dutiful son would reply, “uhuh”. Once the trout was landed, a short conversation would ensue, of which there were four possible variations: “She’s a keeper,” said Dad. “Uhuh,” replied Trevor. “She’s a youngun,” said Dad. “Toss ‘er back.” replied Trevor. “She’s a fattie girl,” said Dad. “Trout for dinner!” exclaimed Trevor. “She’s a pretty one,” said Dad. “Sure is!” laughed Trevor.
Trevor’s mom died when he was three years old. He didn’t remember her much, except for her framed picture on the mantle of their fireplace, maybe the memory of a soft snuggle or two, and the sound of soft singing, way back in his brain in a place he could hardly find anymore. Every year on her birthday, Joe Trevalin placed a single white lily on the mantle, below her bright smile and sparkling eyes. Trevor grew up with mom in the living room, keeping watch over her men, from her special place on the mantle, and inside her husband’s heart.
One time, when he was six or seven, Trevor asked his dad, “How did Mommy die?” Joe looked down at his curious son. Trevor witnessed a sad face of immeasurable depth, the perfect reflection of a broken heart. “She got sick,” Trevor’s father quickly looked away, hoping to hide his sorrow from his young son. “Why didn’t the doctor save her?” Trevor asked. He knew the doctor made him feel better when he was sick. “Doctors can’t save everyone, Trevor. Now let’s go fishing. I have a new spinner I want to try out on those pretty girls.”
As they grabbed their fishing gear and walked down the dirt driveway, Trevor wondered if he would get sick one day, like his mommy. But he didn’t ask his father about that. He never wanted to see that sad face again. Soon, he was running ahead, chasing chipmunks across the rocks, and casting lines in silent harmony with his dad. There they would spend the day, chasing fattie girls and pretty ones, dancing in the filtered sunlight of red oak and swamp maple. There beneath the surface, in a flash of spinning lures, serenity beckoned.