I don’t remember where you came from; I think maybe the Rose Festival, but it’s impossible to recall. You were my first goldfish. I dumped you into the aquarium with the bubbling treasure chest and the mean zebra fish and all the other fish I loved so much for a time. And then I decided I didn’t want fish anymore, because seven year olds are fickle in that way. So I waited patiently for you to die with your buddies. I still fed you, and cleaned up after you, and let my parents carefully keep you alive, but when you died I dropped you in the toilet — as is the custom of your people — and let you go. I cleaned up my tank for good, and sold it for $50.
Bert the Beta
You weren’t a goldfish, and you weren’t mine. But you were my brother’s fish, and I do believe I may have had a hand in your death. I don’t remember if it was him or me who put the fish bobber in your terrarium tank, but it poisoned you either way, and I’m willing to take responsibility — even if I can’t remember a thing about you.
I won you in a game of skill that would speak volumes of my future potential as a beer pong champion: A quick bounce of a ping pong into your plastic cup and you were mine. My friend won a brother of yours that she called Milo, but you were not Milo; I don’t remember what you were called. We spent a whirlwind, chilly Cinco de Mayo night together — you sat by while I rode the tilt-a-whirl, let me ignore you for my friends and funnel cakes, and waited patiently with me for our ride home . You spent your first night with me in a temporary home — a glass pumpkin that only resembled a proper fish bowl. When I woke in the morning, you were gone.
Bartlebee, the popper of caps
You were the first goldfish I’d meant to own. In the wake of losing my cat, I carefully picked you from the tanks at Petsmart. Maybe it was a bit of a rebound. I bought a tank full of fake plants and sparkly fish gems, and a half dozen tetras for you to hang out with. The next morning I had you, the fish gems, the plants, and six headless tetras. You were protecting your turf — I didn’t make that mistake again. You lived out your days in my college apartment, and even moved in with me post grad, but with school over things had changed. I got a little more busy, preoccupied with work and money. I wasn’t keeping your home as clean as I should have. I didn’t always have dinner on the table when I got home. The day it became clear you were on your way out the door, I tried to make things all better — a clean tank, some food — but it was too little, too late.
Megan is available for fish sitting on the cheap. Results not guaranteed.