Don’t miss chapters one through five!
It’s hard to be angry with your husband, or anyone else for that matter, in Cabo San Lucas. There’s something therapeutic about ocean meeting desert that makes you feel settled. At least that what Heather tells herself when she awakes the next morning knowing that her in-laws have unexpectedly joined her family vacation. Margaritas also help.
“I was shocked too,” Michael said last night when they were finally alone and in bed.
“I wanted time just for us,” Heather said.
“I feel bad about this,” Michael said.
“But I definitely detected happiness in your voice when we first saw them at the beach,” she said.
“Well, they are my parents.”
Heather rolled over and pretended to sleep.
Today Heather is determined to try to make the best of the situation. She and Michael plan a half-day fishing trip for themselves and the two older children.
“Do we have to?” Dylan asks as the family climbs into a taxi and waves goodbye to baby Ava and the grandparents.
“Absolutely,” Michael says. “This is going to be awesome, son.”
Michael’s tone reminds Heather of college when life was a seemingly endless celebration. Daylong Frisbee golf tournaments followed by evening keg stands. Self-exploration boarding on hedonism. Anything felt possible. The only momentary complication was a final.
“I’m going to catch a Marlin,” Kaitlin says and puts on her favorite red baseball cap.
“That’s the spirit,” Michael says.
The taxi drives down a long dirt road and stops at a fishing dock. Brown seagulls’ squawk noisily overhead as Heather pays the driver. At least I’ll get a break from the baby, Heather thinks. The family finds the Baja Beast and climbs aboard. Two sleepy looking fishermen greet them.
“Good Wahoo today,” the Captain says and steers the panga out of the marina.
Heather sits on a comfortably padded deck chair and looks out at the sparkling ocean. Miguel is baiting hooks and offers her a pole. Heather politely declines and takes out her book from her large beach bag. Not having to watch Ava, Heather begins to forgive her in-laws intrusiveness and enjoys the newest Jodi Picoult novel.
Almost an hour passes. Michael and the children remain determined to catch a fish. Heather puts away her book, happy that she’s been able to read without any interruption. It’s some kind of record.
“No bueno today,” the Captain says and then, almost immediately, Michael’s line bends in half. Kaitlin squeals in excitement and even Dylan looks eager. Miguel scrambles to Michael’s side and straps a large belt around his waist. Everyone watches as Michael struggles to pull against the weight of whatever is fighting him.
“I knew we’d catch a Marlin,” Kaitlin declares.
“Go Dad,” Dylan says.
Michael struggles with more physical effort than Heather’s seen him put forth in years.
“It’s Dorado,” Miguel says as a flash of iridescent blue and green scales sparkle from just beneath the ocean’s surface.
“It’s so pretty,” Dylan says.
The whole family cheers Michael as he fights the large fish. Ten minutes later, with Miguel’s aid, Michael’s pulls the giant creature onto the deck. It’s not just Michael’s victory; it’s all of theirs. The whole family feels triumphant. Kaitlin and Dylan scramble to the back of the boat as the giant fish trashes on the deck. Heather finds herself patting Michael on the back. He’s smiling as Miguel takes out a giant wooden club and begins to beat the fish over the head. Blood spills in all directions.
The children cry out in horror and close their eyes.
Heather runs to comfort the children. Her heart pounds furiously. This isn’t the victory that she imagined. She feels foolish that she had no idea that the fish’s death would be so terrible. What has she subjected the children to? What kind of terrible mother is she anyway?
Finally, the fish is dead and the deck washed clean. Everyone is silent as the boat pulls onto the beach next to a very posh resort. The family climbs off and onto the wet sand. Heather feels numb. Miguel follows behind the family, carrying the five-foot long fish. Locals on the beach swarm around the family like they are celebrities, congratulating them on their amazing catch. Heather looks over at the children and sees them smiling.
“Must be a season record,” someone says.
Even the fancy hotel guests are coming over, anxious to find out how they can catch a fish like this. Dylan and Ava are glowing in the sudden attention.
“Your family is lucky,” Miguel says.
The family poises for a picture. Heather, Dylan and Kaitlin lined up besides Michael, holding the sixty-one pound female Dorado. They all smile proudly. Next moment, Michael is consulting Heather about paying nine hundred dollars to have the fish transported to a taxidermist in Florida and then shipped to their house. Months later, when she looks at that fish hanging on her living room wall, she’ll wonder how she ever agreed to it. Then she’ll look at that photo and be reminded.
Don’t miss chapters one through five
Note: The ModernMom Chronicles is a completely fictional novel. The story is not a personal blog, nor is it based on existing people or families.