Tuesday, May 27, 2008
A Sacreligious Memorial Day...
I seem to grow fish well. The aquarium kind, not ponds or lakes. Someday when all these dogs and cats go to be Jesus' pets, I plan to keep growing fish because they're truly the perfect pet, if you don't expect much in return, and I don't. I feed them now and then, change their water out sometimes, we never chat, no pats on the head, and when we travel I tell the neighbor kid who has to come over three times a day to deal with the dogs, "just ignore the fish. They'll be fine."

Two of my angelfish grew to be absolutely beautiful, they were the size of a child's dish with long, flowing fins and they'd move gracefully around the tank, surveying it all. Then I had these two fish that reminded me more of me - zipping to and fro, chasing everything in sight with no discrimination. I really didn't care for them much, but once you get the fish home it's hard to get rid of them.

About two months ago I realized one of my beautiful black angelfish had literally been eaten away at. His gorgeous fins had been nibbled down to pitiful, ragged things that were so inept at moving him anymore, he was swimming sort of sideways, and more often hiding behind the plants. I decided the other black angelfish must have become territorial and started to dislike him. Eventually 'sad fish' became so pitiful flushing him was the humane thing to do. He could no longer even feed himself and spent his day in refuge. After his demise at my hands, I went away for awhile, got crazy busy, and when I finally got back home, I took a look at the tank. Beautiful fish #2 had lost much of his long fins too! I realized the two nasty fish were the culprits, zipping to and fro and taking nips out of him because he couldn't move fast enough to elude them. Much like some grand, elderly lady, his fins were for beauty, not speed. I began to wonder if fins grow back, like some creatures that can replace body parts, or are they more like our fingers and toes, irreplacable? The beauty of our relationship has always been that I'm not overly attached to them, when I find one belly-up I give it the flush ceremony. But seeing that he was being picked on, literally to death, brought back that protective side of me, and my dislike of the two zippy fish grew daily.

Yesterday, it being a holiday, I finally took the time to scoop up the two hateful fish and haul them to the fish store, to ask if they knew - would these zippy fish nip at the beautiful angels unceasingly? If so, I was going to give them back to the fishstore owners, and bring home some new angelfish, let them loose in a now non-hostile environment.

The fish store was closed.

I sat there, in the parking lot, the two hateful fish and me. I know they're just doing their thing, functioning the way they were created, it's a dog-eat-dog world out there, but I didn't want it taking place in my family room. I'm not really into violence. CSI makes me cringe, I can't handle Law and Order, or Cold Case or any of those other shows where the first scene is grisly and you spend the next 55 minutes getting more details than you want. My fish tank is there to have a spot of peaceful serenity, not playground bullying or streetfights.

Next door to the fish store is the cemetery. There's a pond with a beautiful fountain in the middle. I pulled in and drove through the cemetery, trying to find a parking spot next to the pond. One woman in particular stood out to me, sitting next to a very fresh grave. Flags waved in plenty and I tried not to look around too much, out of respect for those who were paying respects to people they'd loved.

I pulled over very near the pond, grabbed the little fish bowl and climbed out of the car. I walked as close as I could get to it, stood there and considered whether to walk down the rocky bank in my flip flops, and finally decided it might end in someone having to come pull me out. So I stood there and just flung the contents of the fishbowl out over the pond, giving it a couple extra shakes so there wouldn't be a floppy fish left in there. Once it was empty I took a couple of looks out over the pond, hoping the nasty fish would be happier there, thinking they were likely looking for rocks to hide behind and wondering why they had a migraine all of the sudden.

It was only as I was driving away I realized those putting flowers and flags on graves might have thought I was flinging Uncle Arthur's ashes across the pond.


  posted at 7:54 AM

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