The sun wasn't up yet, but the charcoal black sky on the eastern side of the lake was taking on a dark shade of navy blue. Abraham's stars hung silently. He sat by the water and breathed deeply, closing his eyes and filling his lungs with the cool morning air. The scent of the water refreshed his mind, and he quietly whispered, “Thanks.”
His fishing pole lay next to him, and as the night sounds lingered on. He squinted one eye in the starlight and threaded his hook. The bait squirmed as he placed it upon the barb. “Sorry, little fella.” he murmured. He slipped off his shoes and took a sharp breath as his feet met the bracing water. He waded out a short distance, and tossed out a line. The hook plopped nearly noiselessly into the stillness of the lake.
The sounds of the early pre-dawn surrounded him. The gentlest of waves massaging the rocks. Insects singing their repetitive songs. The rustling of a bird's silent wings.
He was unaware of how much time had passed when he finally felt a tug on his line. He jerked quickly on the line, but the tug was gone. “Come on, buddy,” he whispered. The line twitched again, and he gave it another tweak. This time the tug remained, and grew more violent. Carefully and swiftly he pulled in the line as the catch struggled.
He lifted the fish from the water and into his free hand. Its green scales glistened in the remnants of starlight. “Hello, little guy!” he said as he deftly removed the hook from its mouth. The tilapia were common in this lake, and although this 'musht' was a modest size, it was large enough to keep. He waded back to shore and tossed his catch into a small bucket. He retrieved his supply of bait, and in moments he was back out in the still waters.
“Thanks,” he whispered again.
He gazed out at the ever-growing dawn, and spied the first sliver of the sun's circle over the far hills. A lone fishing boat glided upon the open waters. When he once again felt the familiar tug at his line, the sun seemed to be peering over the hills like a small child at the kitchen table. Once again he pulled at the line, chuckling at the vigor of the small fish. A moment later, and two fish were in the bucket.
The sun began to warm his face as he tossed another line into the now golden water. The slightest breeze rippled the surface, and it seemed that another tug came almost instantly. He jerked upon the line, and seemed to lose his prey. Another moment later, however, and the line was taut.
Three fish now lay in his bucket as he gathered dried driftwood scattered upon the shore. He made a small fire, placed some charcoal around the flames, and took out his knife to prepare his catch.
Laying the fish on a flat rock, he carefully cut around its gills, along the middle of its belly, and then along its back. He pared back the skin, and skillfully began to remove the meat. Not a bit of it was missed. After salting and seasoning the meat, he gently wrapped it in fig leaves and placed it on the coals. The scent was delicious, and his stomach rumbled as he took some bread and placed it next to the fish.
He stepped back to the shore and crouched down by the water to clean his hands of blood, salt, and fish scales. The sun was just inches above the horizon now, and the lone fishing vessel had come closer to shore. He stood and held his hand above his eyes to see the boat more clearly. The voices of the people aboard carried clearly across the lake as they went about their work.
He smiled, and returned to his fire and his fish.
The meat was hissing and popping soothingly over the flames when he glanced once more at the ever-nearing fishing boat. He watched the men move about, still silhouetted against the morning sun. He smiled when he recognized the gait and swagger of the bigger man.
With one hand to his forehead and the other to his mouth, he called out to them.
“Hey! You kids catch anything to eat?”
“We ain't caught nothing but a buzz! We've been trying all night!” came the familiar man's reply.
“Try the other side. Over there. I think there's a school of musht there. I caught a few stragglers,” he said, and pointed to his fire.
“Thanks, buddy. We'll give it a try.” the fisherman called out.
Tending to his breakfast, he watched them toss their net into the drink.
“Whoa!” he heard, amidst laughter. “Look at that!”
He was right. A shoal of musht were there, finding haven from the cold waters in a warm current.
He noticed one of the men taking a second look in his direction, and lean in to whisper something to his bulky friend. The burly man raised a hand to his forehead and peered towards the shore. A moment later, and the man was out of the boat, half swimming and half running towards the shore as soon as he could touch the bottom.
He emerged from the lake, dripping and shivering and smiling abashedly.
The two old friends embraced fiercely. Peter snuffled, and Jesus sniffed.
“You smell like booze and dead fish,” Jesus said, smirking. “And you're getting me soaked.”
Peter released him, and stood back, chortling in spite of his quivering lip.
“Hungry?” Jesus asked.
“Let's have some breakfast.”
And the two resurrected men sat by the fire and ate.