The Wayward Goldfish

21 11 2008

[fiction]

Friend used to be such a happy goldfish.  He used to enjoy eating his flakes twice a day, whenever Source cast down blessings from above.  Sure, sometimes Friend got a little scared and hid under the abalone shell, but then we all do, sometimes.  Usually, though, he would do his laps around the bowl with me and never worry about a thing.  I’m not really sure what made him change.  At first, he seemed to spend more time looking through the glass, usually at Source, whenever he was around.  Then, it kind of turned into a deep reflection about the glass itself.  He spent a lot of time brooding about it.  While I circled around the bowl, looking for algae, like I usually do, he sidled up next to me and asked, “Are you happy?”

 

“Am I happy?  I don’t know.  Why wouldn’t I be,” I replied.

 

“Well, it’s just that this is such a small bowl we’re in, and there’s such a big world out there.  I’m just certain that if we could get past that glass we would have the whole world to discover and explore,” he mused.

 

Such talk made me nervous.  I tried to lose him with a quick flick of my tail, but he caught up to me and continued with his crazy talk.

 

“What is it with this glass, anyway?” he ranted, “Is Source trying to keep the whole world to himself?

 

“Um, I don’t know,” I said, cautiously, “Maybe he’s protecting us from something.

 

“Protecting us from what?  You can see as well as I can there’s nothing out there to be afraid of.  There’s just a much bigger bowl, and Source, who comes and goes from places that we can’t even see from where we are.  I tell you, he’s just trying to keep us trapped in this bowl, because he knows there’s so much out there…and he doesn’t want us to have it.”

 

I wasn’t sure I liked schooling with Friend anymore, so I told him to leave me alone, and I hid under the abalone shell.  When the lights flicked off, Friend was just sitting there, staring at his wall of glass.  The next day, he was quite agitated.  I saw him investigating the glass with great enthusiasm.  I could feel his earnestness.  “What’s up, Friend?” I asked, “looking for algae?”

 

“I’m not looking for no bloomin’ algae!” he snapped, “I’m looking for a way out of here.”

 

“I don’t know, Friend,” I said, “I don’t see how there could be a way out.  Besides, I really don’t think it’s such a good idea.”

 

“Oh, I’ve had enough of your narrowness, fish,” he replied, “You can stay in your happy little bowl all day eating your flakes, but I’m getting out of here.  I’ve had quite enough of this life that Source has put us in.  Now…the glass goes all the way around, like this,” he said, circling the bowl, “And it seems to reach all the way from the blue gravel to the air.  I’ve tried pecking at the gravel, but all that got me was a mouth full of poop, and I think he’s got glass under there to stop us, anyway.”  He followed the glass up to where it met the air and followed that circle.  “I tried to swim through the air, but it’s just too thick.  It keeps bouncing me back.”  He stared up through the air, thinking about it.  “You know,” he pondered, “it looks like the glass stops just a little way into the air.  Maybe if I swim hard enough, I can push through the air just enough to get over the glass.  Then I’d be home free.  I’d shake the ick of this place off my fins and be done with Source.  I’m gonna’ make a life for myself out there.  I just gotta’ get past this blasted glass!”

 

“Friend,” I whimpered, “please don’t do it.”

 

“Why not?” he griped.

 

“I don’t know.  It just doesn’t seem right,” I defended, but I knew it was a lame argument.  I sank to the bottom and thought about happy things. 

 

With a quick flutter, he zipped to the surface and jumped into the air.  He landed back in the bowl with a loud bloop, did a quick circle around the bowl and made another run at it.  I heard him thud against the glass somewhere in that air, and then he fell back inside.

 

“I almost made it!”  he was all over himself.

 

“Keep your scales on,” I barked.

 

“You shut up,” he snapped.  Then he made one heroic effort and threw himself into the air.  This time, he didn’t come back.  Startled, I circled the glass, looking into the world out there to see where he was.  I thought he’d be swimming around, having a good time, but he was nowhere to be found.  I saw an orange thing outside, near the bottom of the bowl, fluttering about, but the angle was bad, and I couldn’t really see what it was.  It couldn’t have been Friend, because I don’t think that he would have been foraging for algae the moment he escaped.

 

After a while, I forgot about it and rested under the shell.  This was all too much excitement for me.  Source appeared in the evening, like he usually does.  I think he was upset about something, but it doesn’t really matter.  Nothing ever seems to be a problem for him.  I begged for flakes like I always do, and he gave them to me.  I miss Friend.  Still, the flakes are pretty good.

[/fiction]

 

goldandsilversig

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