RIP, Sebastian

My fish died sometime today. He was alive this morning, looking livelier and happier than he had in several months, but now he is dead, pinned to the bottom of the tank by Thelma/Sisyphus (the snail), who is making a feast of his corpse. This is the first time that I have ever regretted keeping a snail in the tank. It makes the unexpected demise that much more difficult. How to detach the live snail from the dead fish so that I can deal with this? And what to do with the body if and when I do manage that?

I am rather ridiculously sad. Sure, he was a fish, just about as nonsentient and noninteractive a companion a girl can have, but he was also a good little guy, a hardy and hearty fellow. He traveled with me on five long road trips, thousands of miles in all, and came through with cheer and panache despite the clear hardship of being a fish in a jar in a car hurtling through the sierra nevadas at 80 miles per hour. It was on those trips that my parents and my friend E. truly came to appreciate his beauty — inevitably there was moment when, driving and unable to look for myself, I demanded that the person beside me pull his jar out from its nest of pillows and check on him. A poetic instant every time — the sunlight would catch his fins as he flourished in tiny circles, and our breath would catch at the sight. “Oh,” my father or mother or friend would say. “Oh, he is beautiful.”

And he was.

Time to write a poem, I guess, and attempt sleep. Snail extraction and burial will have to wait for morning.

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~ by Not Alice on February 19, 2008.

One Response to “RIP, Sebastian”

  1. Oh! Poor little guy. I am sorry I never got to meet him.

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