Monday, March 15, 2010
Just before Andrew and I started dating, I attended an apartment-warming party for him. This was probably the 4th or 5th place he lived since moving to Winnipeg (he had been boarding, and rooming with various people), and it seemed like a good move for him, and we had decided to celebrate. My brother was good friends with him, and he was over at our place quite a bit, and so both my younger sister and myself, got him gifts. My younger sister bought him a broom. I bought him a goldfish.
When we started dating a few months down the road, my older sister said that it made a lot of sense, because she had thought a goldfish was a pretty personal present for just one of my brother's friends.
Andrew named that first goldfish, Qui-Gon Finn, after Qui-Gon Jinn from Star Wars Episode 1, a movie we had all seen together that previous summer, but we mostly called it Fish. Later, when that first goldfish died, we bought 3 more goldfish. They were feeder fish, the kind that you are really meant to buy to feed to bigger fish, and I think they were 27 cents a piece. We felt we had plucked them off of death row, so their expectations for care wouldn't be too high, which was a good thing for us. Since the purchase of the first fish, we had learned that Andrew was not the most diligent of fish owners, and so getting fed on a semi-regular basis, and cleaning the bowl a few times a year, was about as much as they could hope for. We named the fish, Luke, Leia, and Han Solo, to keep within a theme. We called them all, "Fish". Two died within the first year or so. Fish survived.
We still had Fish when we got married, after which we learned that I am not much better of a fish keeper than Andrew was. I was a better decorator, however. We got a bigger globe-shaped bowl, and polished river rock to replace the flat-sided bowl and gravel that had come in Andrew's goldfish starter kit. I added a large piece of white quartz for a while, and switched it out for a castle. There was even a die 10 in there for a while. Whenever I would clean out Fish's bowl, which wasn't nearly often enough, I would redecorate, and Fish would freak out. He was a creature of habit, I guess.
There were a number of times when we thought for sure that Fish was going to die. He would be swimming around kind of sideways for a few days, seemingly struggling to keep his tail from floating to the top of the bowl. Or we would leave town for 3 days, and only remember on the way home that we hadn't asked anyone to stop by and feed Fish.
Fish was a tough cookie, though, and survived despite the sub-par fish conditions he lived in. We came back to Fish after our honeymoon. We had Fish when we moved from our first apartment together into our first house. We had Fish when Nik was born. And then, one day about a year ago, Fish died.
All I can say is I never expected to get attached to a goldfish named Fish. It seemed like getting attached to a houseplant. And when Fish died, I didn't cry, but we didn't get a new fish either. I cleaned and dried his polished rocks, his castle and his bowl, put them on a high shelf in the linen closet, and shut the door.
This past Saturday morning, I was cleaning the house like a mad women (it was long overdue), and I noticed the bowl in the closet. I had a million other things I needed to do, and maybe that is why, but I took out the bowl and the rocks and the castle, and made a home for a fish. Today, I took Nik to the pet store, and we brought home a new little cold-blooded addition to our family. Maybe it is easier now, because I can say it is Nik's fish. Or, maybe I just wanted the practice in moving on from lost life. But our currently nameless little fish is here either way, and I am kind of happy to see him. And so is Nik.