I couldn't decide whether to gingerly detach the unwelcome hook from my shirt,
or to risk a tear and let the line tow me to freedom. My desire to be free won
out over my sense of fashion, and I let fate carry me away.
Up ahead, I could see a tunnel of light streaming in through the darkness. It
grew closer and closer, and off to the side a faceless graduating class stood
up and threw their caps into the air. I watched them floating away like balloons
of chance in the night. I thought I could hear an occasional "pop, pop," as, one
by one, they met uncertain fates of disappointment and fulfillment.
I rushed into the Light, I felt Answers tickling my senses, seeping deeper into
my being, so that I almost understood. Sweet enlightenment was trickling down
into the cavern of empty longing deep inside, gently washing away my fears in
a blanket of warmth.
Then, with a sudden jolting crash, the sweet peace was lodged in my throat. As
I swallowed, it was with bitter disappointment that I saw that I was caught up
in the light tunnel. I guess it was a couple of sizes too small, for I found myself
wedged into its exit, rear-end first. But the line tugged and it tugged, until...pop...I
shot out like a cork and flew into the air. All the while the line was being reeled
in, until I found myself dangling from the fishing pole of an old blind man who
had been fishing down a manhole.
He gazed at me with anticipation, waiting for the Answer that would bring sight
to a world waiting for hope. I felt certain that I had tasted the answers to all
questions once upon a time. Now once again I could see the Answers there, reflected
in his eyes. But as I hesitated, the cataracts clouded over and the old blind
man clicked his tongue. "Too little, too late" he grumbled, and he was just about
to throw me back.
"Wait!" I yelled, and quickly detached myself (ripping my shirt anyway, after
all that!). I came crashing down to the ground and fell into a puddle of motor
The fisherman clicked his tongue again, and before I knew what was happening,
he wrung me out on a giant wringer and gave me a haircut and beard trim.
"Fifty cents." He beamed a toothless smile and held out his hand.
I reached into my pockets, but I couldn't find a coin. He clicked his tongue,
yet another time, when I made my apology and told him I'd owe it to him.
"Kids," he mumbled, and went back to fishing.
"Gosh," I sighed. "I really will pay you back...with interest," I added.
"Go away, kid, you bother me!" the blind man shooed, and he was laughing as his
line suddenly went taut, and he joyfully started reeling in a new catch.
"If I ever get another dollar, I'll be sure to save it for just such an emergency,"
I sighed as I walked away from the old blind man, searching my empty mind for
the questions and the answers I'd seen that were worth even more than all the
treasures on earth.