I always knew that it would be me that found Weiner dead. It was an eerie feeling, every time I walked by the fish bowl, I would see him (or her, how is one to really know) swimming around in slow, concentric circles. I would stop to watch Weiner sometimes, thinking morbidly to myself about how nice it would be to have no responsibilities, not even the capacity to remember which way I was swimming five seconds ago. As for Weiner himself, we never really hit it off. He was so dark that I couldn’t even see his eyes bulging out from that bulbous body propelled by large, graceful fins. He in himself was an oxymoron.
I would walk by the bowl every time I either ascended or descended the stairs, and for some reason I would always tap on the bowl to see if a pulse still resided within his body. It bothered me that I was so sure that he was dead, and that I was the only one in the house that seemed to think about it. Most of the time Weiner was floating on his side, sometimes even lying upon the glass marbles that did nothing to make his bowl resemble an underwater scene. But he would always flutter himself and continue floating in lazy circles until I walked away, then probably went back to floating on his side. I have come to the conclusion that he did it because he knew it bothered me.
Going upstairs one morning I made my routine stop at the window sill to tap on the glass and wake my secret enemy from his slumber. I tapped, but he ignored me, probably aware by now that I only wanted to wake him for my personal gratification. When Weiner did not stir, I tapped again. I found it interesting and somewhat ironic that a fish with a five second memory had the ability to irk a human being. When he failed to stir a second time, I gently shook the entire bowl, angry that I was letting a fish get the best of me. But Weiner allowed his body to be jerked to and fro by the waves I had made.
Flushing Weiner down the proverbial toilet to heaven was just another infliction on my mother’s busy morning schedule. But he stuck with me. Maybe not Weiner himself, I refuse to let anyone or anything with such a name make an impact on me, but the fact that I had known I would be the one to discover he was dead. Someone told me it was because I had such an appreciation for life. I would like to think that was it. But another part of me thinks that it symbolizes an infatuation with death. I was able to watch a lifespan from the outside, observe daily routines, and watch it pass silently. I was aware that Weiner’s death had no impact on anyone’s life, who would miss a goldfish? I wouldn’t.
Published by Alison Howe