I remember wanting to be a fish. It was always an aspiration of mine when I was young. The mere possibility of water not being able to drown me fascinated my seven year old mind that had never seen a beach, let alone a fish. I imagined fish to be Earth’s own freaks of nature; noting could kill it except another fish.
Then, when I was about nine after begging and pleading, I was given my very own aquatic pet. I was beyond excited, rushing around to help my dear mother set up the small tank. She placed the fish in its new home carefully, and for the rest of the afternoon I watched it swim around. Days went by like this, me observing all I needed to unlock the secret to becoming marine animal. The fish kept swimming constantly it seemed, and I was in shock. Now I had no choice but to become a fish. What could be more awesome than an immortal speed demon?
But my dreams were soon to be crushed the day I was left alone with my fish. It was a rainy Tuesday like this one, me passing by my hours with fish watching when I suddenly got to thinking. The idea was simple: I would take my fish for a walk. Since fish can breathe, it will be fine. It would be even better since it was raining outside.
I reached up for the tank before remembering how many feet I had left to grow into. I grabbed a chair, stepping on top of it and dipping my hand in, shivering. The fish started swimming rapidly, which only encouraged me as my hand chased it down, finally catching it in the corner. I scooped it up, water drip, drip, dripping from my hand as I hopped back down, walking out into the summer rain without another word.
I sat on my porch, watching as the fish danced in my hand, droplets pounding against its helpless body. I sat there and giggled, giggled my pet fish all the way to its grave. My nine year old self had not known death, not until then when my pet fish died on me.
When I realized what I had done, what it had done, I dropped it in horror, its fish body flopping against the pavement, rain hammering it into the ground. I stood up, rain boots and all, and did the most grown up thing I knew how in the face of death.
“Gerald! Why Gerald! Why!” My wails of angst flooded the culdesac as thunder tumbled through the air, lightning following it. And now every time it rains, I see my poor dead fish Gerald who passed so young, and I think to myself, why was my nine year old self such an idiot.