Bittersweet Homecoming

Sorry for the downer of an I’m-back post, but this is important.

Many of you knew that my beloved Fish has been ill for about the past month. He’d seemed to have stabilized when I left for my trip, but according to my mom, it was only today that he took a turn for the worse.

It was like he was holding out for me; waiting for me. His breathing was labored, he’d lost all his color, and the tell-tale pineconing scales of dropsy indicated he’d finally lost function of his kidneys. Tonight I had to euthanize Fish.

I put him down the best method I knew how with what I had available. I made him a coffin out of a box and tissue, taped it shut, then trekked out to the backyard. With a stick and my hands and a flashlight in my mouth, I clawed out a grave for him in a special spot, and there he is buried. His coffin reads “To Fish: I love you. Thank you.”

I remember when I first brought Fish home. It was a lonely winter term, and I needed a companion in a maddening, desperate sort of fashion. I did all my research and plucked him away from the Danville Family Pet store, choosing him for his purplish hue. It was a significant event, to get a pet, because I had finally begun to get over the loss of my cat, Max, who had died a year before. I was ready for my own pet again.

He was a fine companion in a lonely time, and gave me someone to care for and to pour out my love upon. He played with me. He danced when I came in the room. His favorite screensaver was Bezier curves. He held a fierce grudge against any camera.

Fish was tough. During his 2+ years of life, he got ich, fungus, velvet, and beat them all. He drove to Connecticut and back. He grew to nearly 4 inches in body length, making me think he had a bit of the giant gene in him. He was fierce, and didn’t hesitate to flare at any stranger who approached the tank.

He was a fine and beloved pet, and had a good life. I only hope I gave as much to him as he did to me. I loved him. I miss him. He was a good fish.

Thank you Wheeler, Will, and Ken for enduring me.