I’m a strong believer in having pets. At someone else’s house. Where they are looked after by them and we just visit and have a pat and then drive home to our non-fur-lined house and animal-poo-free-zone. Unfortunately my strong beliefs are not held by the other three people in this house, who have relentlessly and , to some extent, successfully worn down my walls of resistance. So now we have fish.
I can hardly even muster up an unimpressed ‘meh’.
Ever the economist, my husband bought Sussie a fish tank from Big W on special, and then we went up into the Sunshine Coast hinterland to source some rocks from a local creek for the bottom, returning with about five small fish, a couple of tiny yabbies, one leech and something like 100 watery snail things. Sussie knew the exact numbers; my interest was at the same level I reserve for particularly stubborn ingrown hairs of my nether region (that is to say minimal at best) and thus my knowledge of what was in there was sketchy.
There was a wonderful honeymoon period where all the fish and crustaceans got along and Sussie sat with her face pressed up against the glass for hours on end, delighted by their graceful yet nervous movements. Oh the hiding spots Snapper the yabbie had, the underwater acrobatics of the smallest fish, Pearl and the jet like speed of Micro, the tiniest of the other yabbies. They delighted her.
Turns out these three were just shit scared of being eaten by the slightly bigger fish. Which they were. One by one. It was like watching the final week of a season of Survivor: there was just the two fishy allies left, having literally picked the bones off everyone else.
This morning it could no longer be denied that the Allies had eaten all the other water life (save the snails- these fish ain’t French) in the tank and we had a little girl crying hot indignant tears over Snapper, Pearl and Micro. Of course, a door knob would probably have had more empathy for a couple of tiny fish who’d succumbed to Nature’s Way than me, but when your kid is sniffling over them, even my black, cold heart warmed up a bit.
There is a small memorial now where Pearl used to stare, probably wishing she could jump out into the air instead of staying in her Hunger Games tank of death. It details where the fish are from, their names and a hand drawn picture of the three victims. Honestly, only the stern looks from Fiela over the top of Sussie’s head kept me from losing it when she talked about that sunny day they all first met. It was gorgeous and sad and hilarious.
And then we did what Old Mate Google said not to do and went out to buy some new fish. To Sussie’s credit she introduced the Allies to the goldfish,Snowy and Go-Go and Susan the suckerfish with a stern “Don’t eat them you two!”
They probably will. Maybe Susan will eat a few of the smaller snails or the Allies will gang up on Go-Go.
Anyone else holding off on the pet onslaught or am I the only Pet Grinch??