Like a fish yearning for food, I kept swimming close to shore. I saw the shiny lure, and the morsel on the hook, and was fooled once more.
The sharp pain of the hook didn’t hurt so badly, I took it willingly. When it sunk in it had the draw of connection, but the helpless gasping for breath once drawn from the water, that was excruciating.
Still I yearned to be kept, to be placed in the basket, with the shallowest of water. I yearned to be selected, even if it ultimately meant being taken home and devoured.
Yet each time I allowed myself to be hoisted in the air, and held aloft like trophy, the hook was wrenched from within me and I was returned to the water.
I thought I had now where else to go. I thought the edges of the lake were my world so I kept returning to the shore, to be baited once more.
Until one day, I became aware that one end of the lake was actually a dam. Knowing I would return no more, I did not look back towards that shore. I lept over the edge, swam downstream, and was set free.
I will no longer be, your catch and release.