THE EDITOR: I used to say to my friends in jest that it was my first love, fishing that is, and sometimes to my one true love at home, cautiously though, for it’s a thing you never say to a woman, even in jest. But with her in her simple honesty, it’s a chance you could take, knowing how throughout our lifetime, in my fervour for the sport, I would often leave her behind, if only for a day or two, and she would understand.
But they have taken that away from me, for no longer can I go to Granville Beach and experience the unique pleasure of watching my Shakespeare fishing rod bend and feel the sweet uncertainty of not knowing where it will end. Whether in a sense of indescribable triumph or abject hollowness at the loss, as I engaged the 100-pound silver king (grande t’ecaille/tarpon) in the dalliance of all dalliances against the setting sun, but whichever, with a satiation unequalled, almost orgasmic, knowing that there will be another tomorrow.
Nor can I, with the rising sun behind me, sail into the Gulf as I did in the past, knowing it was my playground to be proud and free, uncertain again about what the day will bring. Whether the sweet pull on the line at the first drop signalling that they were there, or having to engage in the forlorn fantasy of the bikinied girls on the Venezuelan coastline off Patos, near the Grande, as we seemed to wait for a lifetime for the first bite, only to be awakened from our slumber at long last by a vicious tug. But whichever, the journey back home was full of promise of another tomorrow.
But Granville is no more, for the sea in its anger over our abuse has swamped its pristine waters with sargassum, ending the game forever, and now where we once dug our toes in the sand savouring of the sea’s bounty as we waited for the moment of all moments when the rod would bend, it is now forbidden to enter, lest we trespass territory of the kidnappers, killers and drug dealers.
And the Gulf too is no longer the playground we once knew but the battleground for the merchants of death, forbidding me once again to enter the one place where people like myself could have found refuge from the horror of our daily lives, at least for a day.
I feel a sense of utter loss at this deprivation.
If they had stolen my purse, that would have been only trash, but taking away that which is in my soul robs me of that which “not enriches the ones responsible” but makes me poor indeed (adaptation, Shakespeare’s Othello: “Good name in man and woman” Act 3 Sc3 158-165).
DR ERROL BENJAMIN