He always thought of the sea as la mar which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her. Sometimes those who lover her say bad things of her but they are always said as though she were a woman.
Some of the younger fishermen, those who used buoys as floats for their lines and had motor-boats, bought when the shark livers had brought much money, spoke of her as el mar which is masculine. They spoke of her as a contestant or a place or even an enemy.
But the old man always thought of her as feminine and as something that gave or withheld great favours, and if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them.
‘Fish,’ he said, ‘I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.’
Let us hope so, he thought.
‘Now is when I must prove it.’
The thousand times that he had proved it meant nothing. Now he was proving it again. Each time was a new time and he never thought about the past when he was doing it.
I have half of him, he thought. Maybe I’ll have the luck to bring the forward half in. I should have some luck. No, he said. You violated your luck when you went too far outside.
‘Don’t be silly,’ he said aloud. ‘And keep awake and steer. You may have much luck yet.
‘I’d like to buy some if there’s any place they sell it,’ he said.
What could I buy it with? he asked himself. Could I buy it with a lost harpoon and a broken knife and two bad hands?
‘You might,’ he said. ‘You tried to buy it with eighty-four days at sea. They nearly sold it to you too.’
This last bit was a bit too close to heart. Made me smile… and shiver.