"It was papa made me leave. I am a boy and I must obey him. "
"I know," the old man said. "It is quite normal. "
"He hasn't much faith. "
"No," the old man said. "But we have. Haven't we?"
"Yes," the boy said. "Can I offer you a beer on the Terrace and then we'll take
the stuff home. "
"Why not?" the old man said. "Between fishermen. "
They sat on the Terrace and many of the fishermen made fun of the old man
and he was not angry. Others, of the older fishermen, looked at him and were sad.
But they did not show it and they spoke politely about the current and the depths
they had drifted their lines at and the steady good weather and of what they had
seen. The successful fishermen of that day were already in and had butchered their
marlin out and carried them laid full across two planks, with two men staggering
at the end of each plank, to the fish house where they waited for the ice truck to
carry them to the market in Havana. Those who had caught sharks had taken them
to the shark factory on the other side of the cove where they were hoisted on a
block and tackle, their livers removed, their fins cut off and their hides skinned out
and their flesh cut into strips for salting.
When the wind was in the east a smell came across the harbor from the shark
factory; but today there was only the faint edge of the odor because the wind had
backed into the north and then dropped off and it was pleasant and sunny on the
"Santiago,” the boy said.
"Yes, "the old man said. He was holding his glass and thinking of many years
"Can I go out to get sardines for you for tomorrow?"
" No. Go and play baseball. I can still row and Rogelio will throw the net. "
" I would like to go. If I cannot fish with you, I would like to serve in some way."
"You bought me a beer, "the old man said. "You are already a man. "