Sleeping with the Fishes

I called Hannah on my way home, and during the conversation she noticed that our fish, Jacques, was behaving in a most unfishlike way. As in laying still at the bottom of the tank. As in no longer among the living.

Honestly, we were amazed he lasted this long. Not that we didn’t take care of him, but we just figured something so small and seemingly fragile couldn’t possibly last the two and a half years he did. We got him — along with two tankmates that he wasted no time in killing shortly after we got them home — because I thought it would be relaxing to have a fish tank. And it was.

Except for the whole messy biological business that happens when a body of water sits out on a shelf for a long period of time. I figured you add enough chemicals and such, the water stays clean. Oh no. It seemed like as soon as clean water was in the tank, it took a matter of seconds for it to transform into the tank from Finding Nemo once Nemo got the pebble wedged in there. And there’s no easy way to clean out a fish tank. You either have to use some sort of suction pump that’s akin to siphoning gas, or you have to dump all the water — making sure not to get any gravel in the garbage disposal — and start all over again.

As the months went on, the bloom came off the rose, and while I didn’t actively hate the fish, the whole relaxing thing was gone. And, somewhat guiltily, I began to wonder how much longer we had before Jacques went belly up.

Now, I could have just flushed him and washed my hands of the whole thing, but that seemed like something a six-year old would do, not a grown man. This thing didn’t deserve to die simply because I’d gotten tired of him. So, I figured it was just a matter of waiting out whatever short lifespan he had left.

Then I found out his life expectancy was four years.

Two more years?!?

I don’t want to say I subconsciously caused his death, but I wonder if he got the hint and decided not to be a bother anymore. If he did, that was awfully big of him.


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