Friday Flash Fiction, March 2022
Updated: Jul 29, 2022
An Ordinary, Marvellous Day
The hills roll and dip in the distance, or maybe it's the tinny. I'm only half awake as we drift along the inlet.
Joannie, unable to sit still for five minutes, reels in her line, jostles the boat as she shifts to the other side, and tosses her line out.
“What are you doing? You’ll get our lines tangled that way,” I say.
She shrugs. “We haven’t caught anything, and it worked for the disciples when Jesus told them to cast out on the other side.” At least she has the sense to look a little embarrassed over her twisted logic.
I roll my eyes at her. How am I going to get her to relax? That is the purpose of this little trip, and she's failing miserably even now as she looks over the side of the boat as if seeing fish in the water might somehow help her catch one.
“Want to roast a few marshmallows tonight?” Surely, melted, gooey goodness will do what the water and sun have failed to do.
Joannie wrinkles her brow. “We didn’t bring any marshmallows.”
“And we’re not catching any fish. We’ll have to visit the supermarket for dinner.”
“Isn’t that kind of cheating?” She squints over her shoulder at me.
“Only, if the object of your fishing trip is to catch fish.”
Joannie’s mouth drops open like a shocked eel in a comical meme. “We’re not here to catch fish?”
I roll my eyes at her again. “Just sit back and let the sun warm your skin, feel the boat sway, and glory in this ordinary, marvellous day.”
“A day can’t be ordinary and marvellous.” Her frown bleeds through her voice.
“Yes, it can. Most people are so busy rushing they miss the magic of their ordinary days.”
The end of my fishing poll dips just a smidgen, and I clench my fist against the tug.
“I caught something!” Joannie shouts, but she's only caught me. The current took her hook my way faster than I thought. I should have reeled in my line the minute she swapped sides.
I begin to stand to sort out the mess, but Joannie jerks her rod. Thanks to my death grip and off-balance stance, she flips me over the boat and into the water. I shoot back out of the marbled blue depths sputtering, “Joannie!”
“What happened?” Joannie’s brown eyes blink so innocently down at me like I fell in the water of my own accord.
“What happened is you hooked my line and jerked me into the water.”
A blush creeps up Joannie’s cheeks. A wicked grin creeps over mine.
“What are you doing?” Joannie's eyes widen as she draws back from the edge.
Me? I've just discovered the perfect way to accomplish my mission today.
I grab the edge of the tinny with one wet, determined hand. Water drips ominously inside, and Joannie's eyes grow wider. I flip Dad's fishing rod to safety inside the tinny, and Joannie tries to scramble away. What's that saying about meeting your destiny on the road to escape it? She stands up, and I couldn't have planned it more perfectly.
I cut off Joannie's question by sharply thrusting my side of the tinny in the air. A scream has never sounded so sweet, especially when it's silenced with a splash not a moment later. But the sweetness sours in the silence, and fear fissures through my confidence.
The bad part about spotting the marvellous in the ordinary is that many people mistake it for the worse part of their day.
Like right this minute. Will Joannie find this marvellous or horrible? She's still steamed she mixed up the dates for her big term paper and almost missed the deadline. Cue our trip to relax after all the drama was sorted out.
The moment stretches interminable, then a sputter splits the air as she breaks through the water. A lump leaps into my parched throat and lodges there like a dry crust of bread. Will Joannie still be blind to the good in the seemingly bad moments? Maybe her term paper hadn't been her best work, but she'd got it in on time. Plus, we'd thrown an awesome impromptu pizza party to celebrate when she hit submit at 2:57am with three minutes to spare.
"Ava!" She screams, but there's laughter in her voice. A weight drops from my shoulders and sinks to the bottom of the sea.
"Yes?" I lean against the side of the tinny and flutter my baby blues at her.
"You're terrible." But there's no heat in the words, and it sounds a bit like that cheeky actress from Muriel's Wedding.
A grin is about to crack my face. Sure, I have no idea how to climb back into the tinny from out here. Our lunch is floating out to sea, and we're going to be sopping wet, but it doesn't matter. Joannie has found the marvellous in the ordinary. The possibly unpleasant parts that are coming will be worth it for this moment, and who knows, they might not be so bad after all. Trifling things like circumstances don't matter as much when you're laughing with a friend.
"So, where do we stand on those marshmallows?" I jostle the tinny to grab her attention.
Joannie laughs, and a matching one bubbles up in me, breaking free pure and sweet.
There is nothing so wonderful as the marvellous in our ordinary.