I’ve gone through two pet Betta fish, and am now on my third. I’m the type of person who treats her pets like friends, no matter what they are, so my fish deserve some kind of recognition on my blog, am I right? They’re really a solid part of my life at this point.
*Disclaimer: if you don’t want to see more of my weird side, click x now. But if you do, I thank you! Please stick around.* 🙂
Henry was the first. He’s the one who started my very long, probably never-ending fish journey. I bought him the summer before my senior year of high school because my mom told me that having something of my own to take care of could help me manage the stress that would come from an AP class and getting ready to make a college decision. She was right on that end, for sure. He was a fairly large Betta fish, all red, and oddly chill for a fish. Sometimes he would swim to the side of the bowl and stare at me while I studied, I would say “hi” and move on with what I was doing. He never jumped and he handled bowl cleanings really well – the ultimate stress-relief fish. All in all, Henry was a perfect pet, a model fish for all the other fish out there.
But Henry lived longer than I expected (because I had only ever owned goldfish – you know how that goes), and *lightbulb* I was going to need to take him with me to Auburn, four hours away from home. I went into problem-solving mode, because I really didn’t think I could leave him behind (like I said, he was my friend). Stick him in a cup of water, put him in the cup holder, and drive on down. I found him a nice little home in my apartment, and he lived there for another couple of years. During that time, I mostly went home on weekends, but there was nobody to take care of him over Christmas Break or Spring Break, so what did I do? Once again, I put him in a cup, put him in the cup holder, and took him home with me each time. He stayed on weekends since he could handle a few days without a feeding. As a matter of fact, I think he enjoyed it.
One day, Henry died. I walked downstairs (my brother and I were about to go somewhere), and he was sitting on the bottom of the bowl. Not the top. The bottom.
I had planned to have a funeral for him, but instead I just flushed him through streaming tears. That was the last we saw of Henry. It was the type of thing where my friends actually hugged me as I told them the story because it was like I lost a family member; they were all very sympathetic, by the way.
The next fish I got only a few days later was most likely sick. My poor fish, whom I had named Phoebe (later realizing it was most likely a boy, shortening it to Feebz), was extremely uncomfortable in every possible situation. He was small, kind-of rainbow and opaque, and he really didn’t like being a fish. He splashed around for some unknown reason, didn’t like feedings simply because my hand was hovering over his tiny fish body, and then he wouldn’t even eat. I don’t think he ever learned that I was feeding him so he could actually continue to live. He hid under rocks so often that I occasionally thought he had disappeared from his bowl without leaving a note. Yeah, he was a little paranoid.
Feebz especially didn’t like those Spring and Christmas Break rides home, and flitted around the whole time as if something were attacking him – I couldn’t ever stop abruptly for fear that he would jump out of his scales.
One day Feebz started trying to swim on his side with only one fin, until a few weeks later he also died. I loved this fish, but something was off, so for his sake it’s best that he’s gone. I cried a little less about him and flushed him in the same toilet that I had flushed Henry (both of whom I watched swirl all the way down in my grief). After Feebz, I told myself I wouldn’t ever get another fish.
And then a week later I did.
Great news! Fish is still living to this day. As you may have noticed, he is only named Fish (sometimes called Feesh to mix it up a little). I gave him a name when I got him and unfortunately forgot it because I’ve had so many fish. Despite his namelessness, I really do love him.
I bought Fish when he was a tiny, almost-invisible baby Betta, and raised him to be the fish he is today. He’s a dark blue, iridescent color, and he shimmers in the sunlight. I watched him eat and grow, and taught him all he knows (which isn’t much).
With Fish, I had a similar dilemma as when I bought Henry. Because Feebz had gone to his grave so quickly, I thought the same would happen again, and that Henry was just a good-luck fish. I learned that the same was not going to happen, and that I was going to have to move him several times – from Auburn to home, home to a new home with my husband, and on all Christmas vacations (and later to a house when we get one).
The thing about Fish is that he likes to stare, and he attacks his food. He is no stranger to food, and I’m always afraid he’s actually going to fly out of the bowl, into the floor, and to his death simply because he’s trying to eat – although I understand his excitement. When he’s not eating or basking on a rock, he slowly swims to the side of the bowl and stares at whatever human happens to be in the room at the time (sometimes he does this because he’s hungry – like a dog). I’d like to know what he’s thinking and sometimes, I admit, I ask him what he’s doing.
He never answers.
He’s stayed with our friends for a week where he met a baby and a cat, and has gone home to both my parents’ house and my in-laws’ house, where he almost met his doom in a garbage disposal during a bowl cleaning. Fortunately he has lived the tell the tale. He doesn’t particularly enjoy rides home, as he stays at the bottom of the travel cup most of the time, but once he’s in a real bowl in a sedentary position, he enjoys his life much more.
It may be that Fish leaves the earth sooner and it may be later, but I I hope to have many more days of looking into his creepy fish eyes as he stares at me from across the room.