On the day Evie turned thirteen her chest exploded. Men stopped staring at her face, older women tut-tutted and girls her own age asked her if she could still run. Her teachers took more notice of her. Boys in year 10 asked her to come over to their places at odd hours. She received frequent notes from the deputy and was summoned to his office. She wondered why his hands, with the gold wedding ring, would always be under the table.
There were a lot of negatives – her girlfriends avoided her, no, she couldn’t run and her tops were too tight. So she took up a new sport, fishing.
She started big, reeled them in and they just flopped into her boat. Some tugged on her line, these too gasped out of their watery freedom. Sharks, tuna, even catfish.
One day when she was fifteen, the Science teacher, a young man of serious composure, smiled and she knew this smile was different. She worked up a plan. 1. Get noticed (come late to class), 2. Wear her aquamarine panties, the ones Uncle Kevin had given her, on her twelfth birthday, 3. Write a note and leave. So, before Period 2, she waited in the toilet until after the bell, walked into the class, inched up the back, sat on a desk and waited. And watched him babbling in another language. After a pause, she slightly, teasingly opened her legs. And waited.
Science. She knew enough about moisture, friction, viscosity to get by. Currents, temperature and of course different hooks. So she wrote the note in simple script, seven words-meet me at the corner after school. She knew he’d be there.
She walked out.
“Evie, where’s your late note?”
She just looked at the note on the desk, and smiled. Not in any particular direction.
She waited, on the corner one knee raised, back against the fence, and sucked a lolly pop like the ones Uncle Kevin gave her. Older boys’ cars slowed and some whistled from open windows, older men stared, there was almost an accident. She checked. She had plenty of bait.
He was late. She knew that fishing required patience. The tails would start wagging when they saw her get into his car.
“Where are we going?” he asked.
“To my private fishing spot.”
She thought he might be different, not creepy like the others, but he moaned just the same and his fingers like tentacles fumbled at the knots. So she let him go, back into the murky waters where colours fade like loneliness.
On the day Evie turned sixteen the fish stopped biting. She decided she didn’t like fishing anymore. This new one like a bun rising, she couldn’t throw back.
Later, when it kept her awake at night, she told it all the untold stories about the ones that got away.