It was a beautiful late afternoon to go fishing. The sun shone bright against the deep blue sky.
We decided to try our luck at the Maas, the river that gave the city of Maastricht its name. I’m not from here, and I don’t know this river. To be honest, it had also been a while since the last time I went fishing. However, it’s always very soothing to the brain. I somehow lose track of everything when I obsessively stare at my floater, or reel in my lures.
This evening wasn’t particularly successful, in the sense that we only caught a small handful of weird small invasive goby fish that I never saw in my teenage fishing years. They seem to have taken over the area entirely. I did catch a miniscule perch, but nothing to write home about.
After an hour of fishing with earthworms, I decided my luck with some jigbait lures. At least I wouldn’t be catching those mini gobies anymore. I stare down the Maas river in the direction of the old river lock at Borgharen (are these things really called locks? I had to look it up). The sunlight makes the thing shine golden.
In the distance I see a young couple make their way towards the water. The girl looks familiar. Not something I expect, being in a place where I never lived, and never knew anyone except my in-laws. We’re also not exactly in a much-visited area.
I stare stupidly at this girl…
In fact, I’m pretty certain that she’s my friend. A friend that I haven’t seen since my PhD defense in 2019, and since we moved, since this bloody pandemic. This friend had moved to Maastricht some time last year, and Heike and I talked about visiting her during our stay in the country, but we weren’t sure whether it would work out. Whether there would be time. Whether we would have the energy after these busy days.
Now my friend is suddenly right in front of me.
I’m very confused.
“(insert friend’s name)?” I call out.
She stares at me with an equally confused face. I wasn’t sure whether she knew we would be in the area. I figured Heike might have talked to her, but from the look on her face, I could easily tell she did not.
What a weird and lovely surprise encounter. We’ve lived together for three years during my PhD, and we were quite a close small group at the time. They were good times!
After surprise video calling Heike, we of course had to arrange a meetup. Energy or no energy, time or no time. Tomorrow, we will now have a semi-spontaneous surprise dinner.
Catching fish, catching up, it’s almost the same thing. But better.