There’s a little blue fish, a beta, in the freezer.
Our fishtank has been a source of much drama, and much no-fair-ing from Kate. To start with, Leif insisted on replacing our broken tank with his (I think he was happy to be rid of his), meaning that Kate no longer had a fish tank, and then in a year and a half I managed to kill all of their fish. Then, Cameron earned a blue beta for being responsible and fish-sitting for over a month.
When we moved in, the drama continued. No fair, Cameron had a fish and Kate didn’t. Then we got each of them a fish (plus some danios to keep my sole survivor happy), and still, Cameron had one more fish.
Then, the new fish both died. Why, we will never know. But let me tell you, there were tears. Cameron drew a ‘I love you Ghost,” memorial picture, and he still pulls it out now and then with stolid determination and a quivering lower lip.
Both kids got a new fish. Actually, so did I, and Leif got a frog. Kate’s fish died quite immediately, and a sad little girl buried the body out in the garden in a quiet and private ceremony. The frog died. And Blue Rock, the beta, died.
I did what I swore I’d never do. I went out and bought a look-alike, and passed it off as Blue Rock.
Blue Rock II died. So did my guppy. Yes, Leif has had the water tested – nothing majorly wrong. Just one of those things.
Cameron hasn’t yet noticed, but Kate has. In fact, she knows about the sneaky replacement too.
So now I’m left with a difficult choice.
I tell Cameron, and cope with the tears and drama.
I don’t tell him. I try to protect him from this sadness, after all it is just a fish. I stop at a pet store and get Blue Rock III on the way home tomorrow, and Cameron need never know. Except that 8 year old girls aren’t well known for secret keeping ability, though Kate did admirably well around Christmas time. Just tonight, though, she tried to whisper to me, with Cameron right beside me and trying to hear, that she knew that Blue Rock had died. And what message does that give to Kate? That we disrespect their attachment to fish so much that we’ll just pass one off as another? Won’t she start wondering if we’d do that with her fish?
That’s why one of the Blue Rocks is in the freezer. At least, I hope he still is. So that if his absence is noted, or if I decide to be honest with Cameron, he has the chance to follow Kate’s example and hold a funeral.