One of our goldfish is dying.
|I dare you to read my mind...|
Our fish tank sits on a dresser right next to my writing desk, which I affectionately refer to as my perch (in the avian sense, not the fish species; that would be weird). Right now, he’s resting limply over the side of an overturned ceramic seashell, looking like he’s at death’s express elevator door, just waiting for it to close and give him his final ride to the top of the tank. But his fins continue to swish faintly, and his gills are moving, so who knows? Two minutes later he is swimming head-first repeatedly into the gravel, and two minutes after that, doing a pretty good imitation of an alligator’s death roll.
I helplessly wonder about this goldfish. Is he suffering? Sure looks that way to me. Is he really dying? I wish I knew. Is the whole thing a desperate bid for attention? I wouldn’t have asked this, but right now he is peering at me, one huge eye filling up a small hole inside a large, hollow rock, as though surreptitiously gauging my reaction. Wouldn’t it be more humane to put him out of his apparent misery? But I remind myself that he recovered once before; wouldn’t it be wrong to give up on him when he’s already demonstrated such amazing recuperative powers? (In my mind, I keep hearing the classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail line, spoken by the old man who is being ignominiously hauled away with a cartful of people felled by the Plague, pleading feebly: “But I’m not dead yet…”)