Because I could see the over-sized square face of the bus, rounding the corner; because I couldn’t be late to work again; because I had worn tennis shoes and could run; because of all this I sped past the fisherman on the canal at exactly his moment of triumph.
Gleaming, swiveling, the carp arced on the end of his hand-tied line. It was majestic, as city fish go, weighty and sleek. The green lurid smell of the water swirled thick around them. His broken smile cracked wide as he held up his prize, spun on his sole-less shoes toward the traffic stopped at the light. I wanted to slow down, admire his catch. I wanted to take his picture, and ask his name. I wanted to know who he was fishing for, but instead, I called out, “¡Que Bonito!” and thought of the time clock. I raced past the school of rush hour drivers. No one honked, no one cheered this miracle: a grand fish–instead of a crooked bike tire or drowned campaign sign–dredged up from the canal. On any other day this stream was just an obstacle to drive over or around.
I never looked back to see if his victory remained unwithered. I heaved onto the bus, the doors wheezing closed behind me. Did his smile falter? Turn toward the fish?
At work, everyone did the things they did, and nothing at all happened. The next day I came early, but the fisherman was gone.