He was a gorgeous little thing; a delicate shade of orange with great googly eyes and smooth velvety skin. He greeted us all every morning with a swish of his elegant tail and a shake of his little head, pressing his quivering body tight up against the glass of his small house. He was easy company, a soothing presence in the corner and quite hypnotising to look at. All manner of stress could be reduced after spending even a few minutes in his company. Our little goldfish, our cute and undemanding buddy, our most innocent and innocuous of pets. All he required was a clean environment and some food. His needs were simple. But a tragedy occurred at the weekend when our lovely little friend, our gentle and gorgeous and undemanding goldfish joined the land of the dearly departed. Poor little thing.
The stunned silence and the gathering crowd around the quite meagre fish tank alerted me to the possibility of his demise. I didn’t think little fish were supposed to be upside down in the water and unfortunately I was right. Of course, he couldn’t have passed away peacefully on any old Tuesday morning when there’s barely time to find shoes let alone stop to chat to Patrick the Goldfish, yes I know, it really rolls off the tongue doesn’t it? No, poor old Patrick had to pop his clogs on a quiet weekend morning when the place is crawling with children and is sure to be noticed. You see, I reckon if he had been a bit more discerning about the day of his death I could have ran to the local pet store unnoticed and picked up another just like him. I mean a goldfish is a goldfish is a goldfish right? Would the children have noticed the difference if one little fish was replaced by an identical little fish? Surely not, I mean it’s not as though he answers when we call his name now is it? Anyway it’s a moot point as his rather limp body had already been copped and now I had to deal with the fallout. But, I reckon it was a good test of the coping skills of my children and they were more stunned and curious then shocked and horrified thankfully.
Anyway poor little Patrick now had to be removed from the tank and rather gently disposed of. Despite their declarations of love and subsequent heartbreak, there was a rather a dearth of helpers when I looked for volunteers. Funny that. In my innocence I thought when a little fish met his merry end the more humane thing to do was flush him away down the toilet. Apparently not. In fairness, if you’re part of my family nothing will ever be that easy and straightforward. Not a hope. My little son was appalled at that notion and demanded a proper burial. Not to add further to his woes we reluctantly agreed. So him, us and the jaded teenagers turned up at the opening of the little grave and bowed our heads in respect as poor little Patrick was laid to rest. I have to admit to feeling a little foolish and the rain dribbling down the back of my neck did nothing to further endear the wretched fish to my heart but for the sake of peace and quiet I went along with the whole funeral fanfare.
Patrick wasn’t alone in the tank. He had a little pal and when that same pal began looking a little morose that same day we realised we had to get a replacement. Don’t ask me how you know if a fish is sad, I couldn’t begin to explain, but when your youngest turns his baby blues on you and swears it to be true, there’s little point in arguing. So a trip to the pet shop followed and within the hour a brand new little orange fish had taken up residence in the tank. So all is back to normal. Equilibrium is restored and the new addition to the family, a simple, gentle happy little fish is to be known as Jonathan from now on. Jonathan the Goldfish, really? Oh well, he’ll always be Goldie to me.