Goldfish have never lived long in my house. None survived more than three months.
Depending on how I felt about a particular fish, there would be either an elaborate burial in the backyard or a quick flush down the toilet. If I REALLY loved the fish, I would first try to resurrect it with salt water because some kid in my third grade class told me it brought them back from the dead.
When a college boyfriend broke my heart, I thought it would be good to get another goldfish and name it after the boy. When the fish died, I could flush it down the dorm toilet as a symbol of the dead relationship. I’d be over my grief within a few weeks. However, He-Fish didn’t die within my timeframe. (Author’s note: He-Fish is obviously a pseudonym. Although, I don’t doubt there are dozens of U.S. men who earned the nickname for some college experience involving either a koi pond or kissing technique. Or both.)
He-Fish kept living. I bought him a little bachelor cave that he could hide out in. I fed him every day. I cleaned and treated his water once a week. A year later, the old boyfriend married the girl he dumped me for, but He-Fish kept going. I moved out of the dorm and into an apartment. He-Fish kept going. Nothing would stop him.
A full two years after He-Fish joined my life, it was time for me to move out of the apartment. My apartment complex had a set of outdoor concrete stairs that were ridiculously close to the parking lot. I lived on the second floor, and as a world-renowned klutz, I fell down – and up- those stairs on numerous occasions. (Proof point: I am the only person in the world who has spiked a volleyball into her own face and knocked herself out cold.)
On that fateful day, I made my last trip up those stairs to get He-Fish, my last item in the apartment. I held his bowl in my arms as I carefully came down the stairs. My foot caught on the last step, and He-Fish and his bowl flew out of my arms. The bowl crashed and shattered onto the parking lot, leaving my vulnerable He-Fish flopping on the asphalt. After dusting myself off, I went to go rescue him, but before I could get there, a Ford Festiva came racing around the corner and ran over my beloved He-Fish.
The driver heard the broken glass beneath his wheels and came out to investigate the crunching. I saw his puzzled face staring at a small goldfish with tiretracks across its body as I quietly made my way to my car and away from the apartment forever.
I guess it’s safe to say that He-Fish eventually served his purpose.