Frannie and David Young have been married over twenty years, have two kids, busy jobs, a house in the suburbs and a dog named Max. To keep the romance alive in their relationship, they plan a “date” twice a month. Their block of time together includes very few rules, no kids or dogs, but requires an open mind. Frannie and David switch off planning dates, depending on the NFL’s schedule and how the planets are aligned that particular month.
In this first outing of a new short story series by Beth Mathison, it's David's week to choose and the couple is off on a fishing trip. When the fish refuse to bite, will the couple find anything to talk about to fill the silence? Or, will the couple find themselves falling back in love hook, line and sinker?
“Tell me again how you think fishing is romantic,” Frannie said, adjusting the edge of her wide-brimmed hat. She normally wore the hat for gardening, to protect her face from the sun’s damaging rays while she pulled weeds in her vegetable patch. She wasn’t sure what hat was appropriate fishing gear. Mosquito netting? One of those foam hats that house two beer cans and a hose for convenient alcohol consumption? As Frannie was getting ready earlier that morning, she had grabbed the first hat she could find, a pink print covered with tiny daisies.
“I didn’t say fishing was romantic,” David replied. His head was covered with a baseball cap, the team logo faded from wear and the sun. He had hauled it out from the trunk of the car when they had arrived at the dock. “Just that it might bring more romance into our lives.”
“All right, let me rephrase my question. How will fishing together bring more romance into our marriage?” she asked. Frannie wasn’t a lawyer, but a paralegal for a small attorney’s office. She brought out her lawyerese when she got defensive. And the thought of spending the majority of the day fishing on a remote lake was bringing out her defenses in spades.
“Thank you for rephrasing, counselor,” David countered. “It’s that together part. Fishing…together.”
“I see. And you thought that fishing was the romantic way to go?” she asked.
“Have I ever expressed an interest in fishing?”
“Was there some subtle clue in my behavior that said ‘I’d really like to go fishing with my husband’?”
“Then why did you pick fishing? I honestly don’t understand.”
“I think that it’s OK not to understand something,” David responded, adjusting the line in his fishing rod. “You get to pick a date once a month. I get to pick a date once a month. So, here we are on the calm waters of Lake Nagawicka. Together. Fishing.”
Frannie bit her lower lip as she considered his comments. Twirling the knob on her fishing pole, she watched as David tied a hook on his own line.
“Last month I did pick that English café with all the doilies and lace curtains,” she said. “That was way out of your comfort zone. You also had to endure that snooty waiter who ignored you because you were wearing khaki pants and a polo shirt instead of a suit and tie.”
“And I did try the mushy peas with my bangers and mash. That was a stretch for me,” David said. “I think I get credit for eating an entire serving of peas mixed up into a fluorescent green paste.”
“Point taken,” Frannie said, putting her defensiveness aside. “OK, what do I do with this hook?”