Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Death of Le Petit Poisson

My thirty-seven-year-old daughter, Sheila, called yesterday in tears. Her beloved goldfish (Le Petit Poisson) had died unexpectedly in his fishbowl. Sheila was even afraid to name him (or her, as the case may be) because she had lost so many goldfish in the past. Le Petit Poisson, however, was not just an ordinary goldfish. He was a gift for Persian New Years from a good friend and he had qualities not normally attributed to goldfish.

When anyone approached his bowl, he came up to the top of the water and tried his best to communicate. He actually jumped up to say hello! LPP even had “fish sitters” when she and her husband traveled. This was a communicator of a fish. Everyone said so! I fully understood her unhappiness over this event. LPP even knew how to smile!

Ten years ago, my husband and I had a marvelous sixty-gallon tank of freshwater fish. There were about thirty inhabitants of the aquarium. Two fish stood out: Snow and Jake. We got Snow from Lucky Goldfish in Oakland, California and she was a gorgeous white molly. Jake was obtained some time later from PetCo in Alameda. Snow, from the time we brought her home, was a very depressed girl fish. She hung around at the bottom of the tank and looked near death for the first two weeks we had her. She put on weight even though she seemed to stop eating, and was letting herself go. There was nothing we could do to help her. Jasmine (one of our female fish) used to go by and nip at Snow every chance she got. The large male fish (Lester) in the tank who impregnated at least half of the females, completely ignored Snow. (By the way, each and every one of those fish had a name.) Delilah used to nip at Snow every time she passed her. In other words, she was not the most popular girl in the class.

When we brought Jake home, a very small black molly male fish, all things changed. Jake, for whatever reason, spent his time becoming the pack (school?) leader of the tank. Nobody messed with Jake. He was small, wiry, and probably quite intelligent for a fish. He made it his mission in life to pursue and win the affections of Snow. She began to lose a little weight, get out of the bottom of the tank and fixed her self up a bit. Jake became her constant companion and she was on longer a girl on life support! I had a difficult time leaving for work in the morning because I wanted to see what was going to happen next.

When my husband and I decided it was time to clean the aquarium, both Jake and Snow did not live through the experience. At least they died together. We were heartbroken. About two years later, when a severe sickness swept the tank, we lost them all. I can’t imagine ever going though such a terrible period again.

In any case, Le Petit Poisson gave so much pleasure to so many people. I’m so sorry he (or she) is gone.

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