so today . . . i had to flush a fish.
don't panic! it wasn't my fish. it was ms. martha's fish . . . (i would typically post a picture here, but, you know, the fish is dead. and i didn't think you would really enjoy looking at a picture of a dead fish.)
we got our fish at the same time from a very generous parent. we have had them about three weeks. my fish has been doing fine, but martha has been worried about hers. she says he lays on the bottom of the bowl a lot and puffs out his gills. i guess the puffing of the gills is a sign of stress.
maybe the stress killed him.
i don't know, but this worries me. i am not a fish, but right now i am a quivering mass of stress--it is everywhere i turn--even when i sleep! last night rollie woke me up, because i was kicking him. of course i was kicking him! he was trying to steal my handbag! wait, no, someone else was trying to steal my handbag . . . and i was yelling for rollie to help me and i was kicking the thief while trying to at least retrieve my phone and ipod before my purse was wrenched from my grip . . . and then i woke up. you see, even in my dreams there is stress.
this afternoon ms. martha came in to check on my fish. her fish seemed ok this morning, but after lunch she noticed he was kind of hanging out on the bottom of his bowl and his little fins were not moving. when she gently swirled the water, he kind of went with the flow and then sort of listed to one side . . . yeah, he was dead. she left my room to go "take care of it," but was soon standing in my doorway again.
"i have a little problem," she said.
"oh?" i said.
"yes," she said, "i can't flush him."
what? the fish is dead. dead fish get flushed. so what is the problem?
"i just can't do it," she said.
ok, i love animals. my first question about a movie with a dog in it is, "does the dog die?" because if it does, i am not watching the movie! i just can't! but a fish? and yet, martha was standing in my doorway looking like she was either going to cry or be sick, and the kids would be up from their naps soon, and she couldn't really have them spending their afternoon with a dead fish, now could she???
no, of course not. "would you like me to take care of the fish for you?" i asked. "yes, please," she said. so she watched my class while i went into her room to deal with tito miguel.
and there is the problem. the fish had a name. when you give something a name, you start to think of it like it is a person. and that makes it hard to deal with it's tiny dead body.
it did look pretty sad. and it made me think of my own seemingly healthy fish, serenely (i think) floating around in his bowl. i would miss my fish if he died. he is beautiful, and it is sort of calming to watch him just float around and fan out his beautiful fins. and i know he watches me. i'm sure he just wants food, but i sort of feel this silent communication when he is looking at me. "hello fish," i think, "i'm just sitting here working at my desk. thanks for keeping me company and not whining or arguing or asking me for anything. well, except food."
(yes, i mentally talk to my fish, ok? did you not hear me say that i have lots of stress right now?!?! and if talking to the fish on my desk gives me a few moments of peaceful calm during my crazy day, then that's what i am going to do!! it is certainly cheaper than therapy!)
i thought kind thoughts about tito miguel, and then i flushed him. i felt like the terminator. but it made martha's day a little easier. and since she doesn't have a fish to talk to anymore (at least until tomorrow when tito miguel's twin takes his place,) it was the least i could do.
but believe me, i told my fish all about it . . .