Monday, September 10, 2012

Pet Owners for a Day

 Cooper and Collin gleefully displaying their new "pets."
Within a 12 hour period, both fish had passed.  Caleb insisted on placing a "historical marker" by the fish tank.

I left Chris alone with the boys for mere minutes at the Fall Festival.  Evidently that was enough time for two boys to become pet owners.  When we reunited, Connor and Cooper were beaming and each clutching plastic baggies filled with water and a carrot-colored goldfish.   

The $2 carnival acquisition of goldfish quickly morphed into a $50 visit to Petco.  I watched my husband leave the store clutching an evolve2 fish tank, a plastic palm tree, fish food, water cleaning solution, and baggie full of aquarium gravel.  Clearly Chris hoped the fish weren't merely passing through, but would stay awhile in a place they considered home.

Back at our house, my husband rigged up the aquarium and the boys huddled around the tank.  They didn't seem to tire in watching the fish float around the plastic palm and bob against the gravel.

As the evening went on, one fish grew sluggish.  Chris noticed it first.  Red Fin's lifeless body had floated up to the top of the tank.

Connor asked, "Do you think he's paralyzed?"

Cooper added, "Dad, can you give him CPR?"

But the truth was, Red Fin was gone.

With much reverence, we let him lead the group to the toilet with Chris cupping the deceased fish in a spatula.  Caleb offered the eulogy.  As a verbal minimalist, he stuck to the facts, "Here goes Red Fin.  He lived a couple of hours."  Just like that, Red Fin fell to his watery grave.

This morning, I glanced at the tank.  Overnight, Flame met the same fate as his friend.

I braced myself for the wailing and gnashing of teeth, but instead the conversation moved to dogs and snakes and whatever other fine pets they hoped to acquire.  Suddenly, I really missed those fish.






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