Monday, January 12, 2009

Eulogy for a Fish

There's not much you can say about a fish. But T-Maxx was our first pet and when I told the girls he had died, Bethany quietly said, "Mom, we were so happy the day we brought him home." True. We all had pet lust so bad last summer that we would go and visit the SPCA and the local pet stores just to hold the animals. We looked at turtles, rabbits, snakes, and birds yet in the end we agreed a fish was best. We bought a vivid red beta.

Theodore Maxwell, or T-Maxx to his family, loved listening to music. He swam in circles in his little round bowl on the bookshelf in the bedroom. Hannah pressed her nose against the glass and He looked her in the eye and flared his fin but he didn't swim away. He also loved the color yellow. The fact that his food came in a bright yellow box only increased his excitement at mealtime.

Pillow, the calico cat, came to live with us a month later and they bonded quickly - a little too quickly. So I changed the wide-mouth bowl to a tall narrow mouthed vase so she wouldn't wash her paws and scare T-Maxx. But he was always a gracious host and allowed the cat to hug him through the glass.

Nai Nai came to visit us in September and she wanted to know why T-Maxx wasn't growing and when he got big enough, would we feed him to the cat? Perhaps she fed him on the sly. Perhaps that is why the water fouled so quickly every week.

T-Maxx got a fungus. He rested on the bottom of the vase and wouldn't eat. I misdiagnosed his symptoms for the Ich and waited too long to treat his illness. He was a patient fish and not easily flustered. He minded his business, but got along well with the rest of the family. When I took him out of the water for his burial, Pillow seemed distressed. She looked for the bowl and nudged my elbow.

The girls have given him a Christian burial. They used masking tape to form a cross with two sticks. They were reverent and solemn.

My husband has forbidden me to get another. Perhaps he doesn't want the trauma of bonding with another fish so quickly after this one passed. Perhaps he thinks I'm silly to like a fish.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear. I'm having a flashback to when we discovered Captain James, the betta fish my grandfather carried from Florida to Texas for me in his camper without spillage, had taken a flying leap from his restrictive bowl and and landed under the bookcase. I'm now waiting for T and Me to show up at our local theater.