Pet Fish


Ever since the kids were young I had pet fish. There was something serene about watching them swim around at night, under the tank lights. Whenever I came home there they were, peacefully swimming around without a care in their little world.

Seven years ago I couldn’t find anyone to adopt my fish when we relocated to California. Sadly I had to dispose of them. I packed up the Nissan with our family heirlooms. In went photos, diplomas, the portrait of Uncle John and our curly maple rocking chair. And the tank. I remember seeing that fish tank in my rear view mirror driving across the country.

After I had been out here a month alone, working at my new job, I flew back to my family in Ohio. The movers packed up our stuff, then we hopped on a train westward into our new lives. Several weeks later, after things got settled in our new home, I bought home some pet fish.

Savannah, Courtney and Douglas had names for the fish. They each had unique little personalities. They would recognize me when I walked up to the tank and congregate in the front right corner where they got fed. For such simple little creatures I sure enjoyed them.

Janet wasn’t happy about my fish. She would complain about the smell. Or worse, yell at me for cleaning the filter elements in the kitchen sink. All the time.

Sometime in May of last year I learned that Courtney had sold her chickens. I asked Janet why, she brushed it off saying Courtney didn’t trust me with them. I was so looking forward to taking care of them while she was back east. Courtney and I built the coop together. It was something we shared. I didn’t understand where she got the idea that I wouldn’t take care of her birds.

One day, in a fit of desperation thinking about having my kids away for two months, I drained the fish tank and disposed of the fish. Just like that sad day seven years ago in Ohio. The kids came home and asked what happened to the fish. I lied by telling them they had died.

The following week Janet sold my fish tank at a garage sale.

Today my three children gave me the most wonderful Father’s Day present I have ever gotten. A little fish tank with three fish in it. It’s the most beautiful thing in my world. I’m looking at the little guys swim around their tank as I type this. It feels like a little piece of me has been put back into place.

It’s amazing when you think how children understand things more than you thought they did. I am happy that my children appreciate little things like pet fish.