My routine with Fraidy has been much the same every day, including weekends. Only now it involves Fraidy, dog and me. And on the weekends I switch things up a bit and go out to see him right after I’ve made myself a cup of coffee.
I grab the mug, the fish flakes and dog and I go out to the back yard. I clean the pond with a net, which gets Fraidy all worked up, dog watches Fraidy flip around, which makes dog’s ears perk up and flip around, I toss in some flakes and watch the fish-shark hunt his flakes.
This Saturday, I woke up a little earlier than usual, made my jo and out to the pond we went. There is a little wire fence around the pond that becomes electric at night so that Marcus and his crew cannot go midnight skinny dipping. This fence has obviously worked… until this Saturday. Dog and I stood over what was an unusually still and clear pond and could see all the way to the bottom. I looked around, which is not much to look around at and saw no fish. I panicked for a second and continued to look under the few hiding places – poked the net around and no fish flipped.
I panicked even more. I looked around and noticed that part of the wire fence had been knocked down and it looked as though someone (Marcus?) had made a little ruckus around where the fence had been knocked down. My disbelief admitted to my brain that Fraidy had been found… and potentially eaten. My heart and the plastic can of fish flakes fell to the ground. I looked at dog and asked, “Where’s Friady!?! Huh?!?!” She galloped around the yard, nose to the ground and looked everywhere, including under the deck, which made me wonder if Marcus was under there sleeping with fish on his breath.
I stared at the pond for what seemed like too long before I just started to chant, in a whisper, “He’s gone. Fraidy’s gone!”
I went inside and immediately Violet asked why the long face. I told her. Her first reaction was light hearted denial. “No, he’s just hiding. That’s what he does.” I told her I looked everywhere, which wasn’t a whole lot of anywhere to look and he just wasn’t there.
I got on with my day as best as I could. Every few thoughts or so my brain would say, “Your fish is gone! Is he really gone?… Knock it off, he’s just a fish.”
My heart hurt. It really really hurt. He was such a good guy. And although I’ve battled with whether or not Fraidy gave a shit about me or not, he did. He really did. When I would come out there he immediately swam to the surface and smiled at me. I know you’re wondering if a fish can smile and I’ll tell you, right here, right now, yes, they can.
So, my day went as it did. Violet and I, ironically enough, went out for sushi that night and it was a wonderful date. I tried to get him out of my head over a few shots of sake but as soon as we got home dog and I ran back outside to stare into the still, lifeless pond… and… there he was. That little shit of a fish was just swimming around like, “Oh hey Jesse, wassup with you? Nice weather we’re having, huh?”
And thank the fishgods.