Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fish I Have Loved

Pal Pescado passed away today. Pal was my fish who kept me company at the kitchen sink. He was my third fish in recent years. I don't know why he died (unlike Buddy Beta whom I killed...more about that later). I'd only had Pal since Good Friday. He was a gift from the neighbor who knew how much I missed Buddy.

My daughter hated Pal. She said he was weird...and he was. But he was his own fish and I learned to accept him the way he was. I wondered if some of it had to do with his name. "Pescado" is fish in Spanish only this particular word for fish is fish on a plate ready to be eaten! Poor thing, maybe that's the reason he seemed to prefer laying on the bottom of his bowl. I guess his name should have been "Pal Peces" which is the name for a free swimming fish. But that didn't really fit him. He was very different from the other two fish I've had.

My adventures with fish started a couple of years ago. Don't really know why but the thought came to me to get a fish. I mentioned the idea to the gals at Curves who helped me decide on getting a single beta to keep me company near the kitchen sink. I went to a wonderful aquarium store that sold things (and creatures) I never knew existed. I eventually located the betas floating in their little tiny containers and was drawn to a small, simple looking one. Then I selected a specially designed "beta bowl" with a light, that came with food and some kind of drops for something or other. After stopping by the grocery store for spring water, I went home and set up house keeping for my new pet. I named him "Friend Fish".

"Friend Fish" was great company for me as I worked at the kitchen sink. I loved watching him swim...I marvelled that his small cramped bowl didn't seem to constrain him at all. When I came over to the sink, he would swim up to the glass and then swim a lap or take a twisting dive to the bottom and back to the glass. I marvelled at how he could be so free in such a small, constricted environment. That's when it struck me that perhaps this was what true freedom really is.

I'm not sure what happened to Friend Fish but he died and after a reasonable time of mourning my daughter bought me a new fish. "Buddy Beta" was incredibly beautiful and seemed to strut around the fish bowl. He loved to fight with me for his food. He'd come up the glass and fan out his gills and stare me down. After thumping the glass a couple of times I would reward him with a few flakes of beta food. I loved that he loved to fight with me...a true fighting fish...I loved that he was his authentic self.

Sadly, I killed Buddy : ( I had been out of town for a few days and when I returned home, I noticed that his bowl was about 1/3 evaporated and murky...he was swimming around OK but it was stinky and gross so I decided I needed to clean his bowl right away. Unfortunately, we were out of spring water (or any bottled water) which is what I normally use. I thought our water purifier took out the chlorine so I used that but apparently it doesn't. I tucked him in that night in his clean clear water only to find him laying on the bottom the next morning : ( He was such a pretty fish...the prettiest beta I've ever seen.

These are the fish I have loved.


Jan said...

Sweet. I loved your description of watching the fish swim. Thanks.

Katherine E. said...

I've had it in my mind to get a fish (or two) for a while. Do you have a cat? and the cat leaves the fish alone? I'm thinking Hobbes would go crazy until he knocked the fish bowl over... ??

Kathy Doerge said...

I do have a cat but she wasn't interested in the fish. She checked out the first one, then just ignored them.

Is it any surprise that my cats and dogs and fish and other creatures don't act in character? They always keeping me guessing!