The release has always been the hardest part. So much time is spent in pursuit, engines roaring, other lines reeled in. Anticipation and expectations build as the end of the rod dances and the ensnared jumps toward the sky, back arched, head tossing blues and greens back into the water. You were awed by the majesty, the power, the demonstration of will, because who knows what is required to propel yourself out of your element because, really, who among us has tried? Who has that kind of strength? It is only at that moment that you begin to notice the sweat gathered on your upper lip and the in the crevices of your eyelids. The damp and the sweat smell that have taken root in your shirt, the ache that has crept up your fingertips, through your biceps, and into your whole body, transforming itself into raw emotion, transforming you into someone you don’t recognize for all the compassion. But you can’t give up. You must ride it out and make sure no permanent damage has been done. You can’t tell what you’re doing. You can’t tell if the salt you tongued away from the corner of your mouth was sweat or tears and you just keep fighting until, slowly, it draws up next to you. Bigger than you imagined. Tougher, stronger, and more vivid, too. You begin to question what you know of love. Out of nowhere, you are holding a knife. Your life was just upended and already it’s time to let it go. Time for the release. There was no lasting damage done in the battle, so you reach down and slice through the microfilament in one smooth motion. It’s over. You watch him dive deep and you are filled with longing so deep and so instant you have to grab on to the hand rail. You begin to turn away, but the spray against your right fingertips draws you back and you watch him make one last leap against the sky before retreating to the shadows below the surface.


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