The summer holidays had seen us coming back stronger and braver than before we left.So strong and braver that in an impulse of pure boldness the girls and I shared the expenses of a new aquarium.
My oldest followers know everything about the fish saga we went through last year. It turned out that we had a fish with mental problems which kept bullying the other fishes in the tank until, one after the other, they dropped dead out of stress. And when I say drop dead, I mean it, literally: Ozzy, Lulu, Apollo, Smarty all of them had died under the psychological abuses of the psycho fish. In the end, we set our mind on keeping just the “one fish”, sensing he liked to be an only child.
Karma here you are:he didn’t live much longer as an only child and died shortly after his victims. I can’t say we were desperate for the loss; first of all he was not a good boy and, second of all, we kind of got used to losing lives over the last weeks. What left everybody puzzled was the way he died, grossly, losing his skin.
Determined to have a new fresh start we went for the umpteenth time at the pet shop to buy more fishes. Once there we also enquired about the possible causes of the disease that killed the pshyco fish. Probably something viral most of the time attacking the fishes under stress, we have been told and given a special treatment to clean the tank. We left the shop feeling guilty to have judged the bully so harshly, maybe by the end he had repented and couldn’t cope with his sense of guilt.Once home we set the new tank full of hope they would live a long peaceful and happy life. Never been wronger: they both died skinless after ten days.
That was it! I flashed the toilet for last time, and I threw the infested tank in the bin.
The trauma was hard to overcome, none of us mentioned the fishes again. I suppose that we developed a sort of “fishfobia”. A fishfobia that stayed undefeated until this summer when I decided that if I could launch myself solo on my belly, down a water slide of such height I could also bare with the idea of a new aquarium without waking up every morning terrified of finding a corpses floating on the surface of the water.
The girls shared my boldness, we all agree that it was about time we got over our fears and open our house’s door to some new swimming guests. The pick of the aquarium was not easy, lots of different types to choose from: with led light, with blue light, with glowing lights, with no light, with Disney characters,plain…..At the end, we took our decision pragmatically and chose by size,(it had to fit a precise spot on my desk),and by prize,(we love our aquatic friends,but if they come with a not too much expensive home we love them even more).
The new tank has blue lights, and it is slightly bigger than the old one allowing us to have a fish each: Frank, Dotty and Tiger.
After he had scanned our purchases and he was about to insert my card on the machine, the pet shop boy stopped and went, “But mam, why are you buying a new tank. Don’t you have the old one at home ?”
“I throw it away,”, I said.
“Why?”, he replayed looking at me like I was the worst money waster ever.
“Because even after I cleaned it the fish got the virus again and I thought the filter was infested”. Now he was looking at me like I was a stupid money waster.
“The filter can’t hold any germs; you should have kept it”,He insists.”But I didn’t”,I replay sharply. The pet shop boy is determined not to let go my poor domestic budget management that easily.I tried to distract him asking about decorating the tank with real shells.
“You put real beach shells in the tank?”,his voice was a cry of disbelief. “Yes”, I say in a whisper because I know it is one of those situations when you should deny. Deny, deny and deny until the end.
“That is what surely cause the infestation of the tank. You never do that”, “But we washed them,with ph neutral soap”, I said trying to justify myself and making clear I was not a total idiot. I mean ,it was not that we picked them at the beach and threw them in the tank just like that.
“It doesn’t matter, you should boil them and then freeze them and boil them and freeze them, multiples time and still they can carry germs”, he explained. Now,boil them I can understand, even if we didn’t do it but freeze them? And multiple times?
Oh boy, we were the one who killed the killer fish and the ones after him.