Although our blog is entitled “Running Away from 49,” today I felt like I am desperately trying to hold on to each moment rather than running away from something. Usually I too am trying to escape all the complications of today’s life, but at least for now, I am trying hard to prevent change, grasping for bits to hold on to. I want to cling to these moments forever, never letting them go, seizing whatever pieces of happiness I can grab, knowing all to well, they can be fleeting.
Today, my family experienced a loss, a small loss, but nonetheless a loss. Sometime last night Goldberg, my daughter’s 4 year old goldfish, died. He had been sick for a few days, probably longer but we didn’t notice. Yesterday, in a desperate attempt to save his life, I ran out and got him antibiotics and some other recommended meds. I dosed the tank according to the directions. Before going to bed, I told my husband who rises before dawn, to check the tank and remove the fish if dead before my daughter woke. Hopefully Goldberg would make a miraculous recovery overnight, I wished. No such luck. Goldberg died. I woke at 4:45 a.m. to my husband standing over me, holding a neatly tied white plastic bag, whispering, “Goldberg is dead.” “Whose Goldberg?” I asked still sleeping, thinking it was someone involved in the Boston Marathon. Finally realizing it was my daughter’s fish, I sat up, deeply saddened by the loss of this little fellow. Goldberg had a short but happy life, considering the probable fate of his fellow buddies. My daughter had won him at our church bizarre where dozens of goldfish swam in tanks while wishful children threw ping-pong balls hoping to win a fish. Screeching with enthusiasm, my daughter hit her target and won a one-inch goldfish soon to be named ‘Goldberg’. We took him home and placed him in her ten-gallon tank filled with proliferating tropical fancy fish. Goldberg soon grew, quadrupling in size as the tropical fish mysteriously dwindled. Over the course of four years, Goldberg grew to be eight inches long and the tropical fish now numbered three; a small catfish, a gold colored tropical fish, and “Angel” a white kissing fish who hid in the castle in the corner of the tank. Slowly, an unusual friendship developed. Angel for the better part of a year before Goldberg’s arrival never ventured out of the castle. I really forgot he existed, but that was before Goldberg’s arrival. As Goldberg grew, she caught Angel’s attention. I refer to Goldberg as ‘she’ because from my perspective, Goldberg was wooed by ‘Angel’ who appeared to be the masculine suitor seeking his damsel. Angel slowly came alive, leaving his castle, visibly courting Goldberg who was at least 4x his size. I guess Angel liked his ‘women’ big! Angel started the most bizarre behavior; fancy swims and flips. It even caught my teenage son’s attention who cared little about Goldberg and the tank of fish. “What is he doing?” the kids asked, as it was hard not to notice. Angel chased Goldberg all day. At first, Goldberg shunned the affection of this unusual white looking fish. “What the hec?” I knew Goldberg was thinking as I could read his mind. But slowly, Goldberg responded to Angel’s antics. They now chased each other around the tank, playing games. You could see it. You could actually see they were playing, communicating with each other and having fun. They would rub up against each other with affection. Goldberg was now reciprocating and chasing Angel too. Angel would retreat, rub against Goldberg and do his funny little dance. They would look for each other, not that there was much space to hide, but they did. They were inseparable. These fish clearly had emotions and a fondness for each other, I see human couples lack. Now it was the last remaining tropical fish that hid in the castle. Angel was out for good. He and Goldberg had taken over the tank. For four years this love affair continued. They were such an unlikely pair, a couple right out of a Disney movie. They were so much fun to watch until sadly over the last few days, I noticed Goldberg was ill, and Angel was clearly stressed. Angel kept rubbing against Goldberg, trying uselessly to get Goldberg to swim around again. As Goldberg lay at the bottom of the tank last night clearly in distress, Angel lay next to him, rubbing against him over and over again. It was difficult to watch. My daughter and I cried because Goldberg was sick and likely dying and Angel was desperate to help. It was love and it was loss, and it didn’t matter it was a goldfish and a kissing fish in a ten-gallon tank. I never thought I would witness such a strong emotional bond between these two little fish. Who would have thought such an unlikely duo, would have met, found friendship and love in a ten-gallon tank? And I bet Goldberg had the last laugh, as she was probably really a ‘he’ playing the part of a feminine suitor for Angel. It didn’t matter though as they found a faithful friend in each other to the end. Rest in peace Goldberg.