Getting to know the fish

Another five hours of driving and more of lifting and then I finally had some time to commune with the fish tank. I can hear it bubbling away next door as I write. I think I’ll be googling “silent filter” before long, as I’ve put it right by the telly. But for now it’s a pleasant bubbly sound. Like lying near a river on a spring morning.

The tank had two little plastic Christmas trees with it – courtesy of the previous owner. I put them in there this evening even though they’re twee. “Do you think he carefully places them on the first day of Christmas with great ceremony, and removes them on Twelfth Night?” asks Max. I think he does. Definitely.

When I was collecting the tank my focus was on the fish and the tank, not on the previous owner. I don’t think I really looked at him much at all. Distancing kept him away, plus I was nervous about fishmoving. My imagination has filled up the gaps in my knowledge in the same way the brain uses past data to approximate half-witnessed events. In my imagined memory he’s wearing shorts. He has sandals on, with colourful socks. These are false memories, but they help make sense of what I assumed about him. He had some lovely fish, well kept but he’d only spent on the animals. They all seem to get on very well, and there’s a lot of personality in that tank. He gave me his Aquarium Owner’s Manual as well as everything else required for fishy delights. I’m gradually learning their ways and naming them.

I’m finding things to put in their tank, with the long term plan of replacing all the tacky plastic shelters with natural things and things with meaning. They’ve already got a scallop shell from Camino and a huge semi-precious stone I found in my grandparent’s effects.

I like the Weatherloach best of all. He is extremely friendly and active. As soon as my hand goes in the tank he is fearlessly gnawing at it for the dead skin. It’s cute, but you know he’d eat you if he could.

I’ve done so much driving and moving and lifting and I’ve worked such long hours for myself and for others over the last 4 days that I feel completely exhausted now in a really pleasant way. Droopy eyed but warm and calm and happy in the knowledge that insomnia is not a possibility. Work, followed by fishwatching. It’s better than booze as a sleep aid. And once more I’m taking the slow train to fishy dreams, with an early alarm as I’m basically working two jobs again tomorrow – but no lifting. One online. One behind a window.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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