A Very Fishy Life


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1. When I was seventeen, my first breakup was a bit rough, mostly because I was stabbed in the back by a group of my so-called close friends. At that time, I overheard something that I hated to hear the most in my life: “She doesn’t know what she wants.”

It was hurtful then, and although it’s less hurtful to me now, I’m afraid they were right. The biggest problem in my life might be that I don’t know what I want. Or maybe, like what one of my friend suggested, deep down I know what I really really want, but I’m too afraid to fight for it. I don’t have the guts to face the trade-offs, when it comes down to career choices.

Other hurtful words that I hate to hear: “Why do you always have to make it hard for yourself?”

Well, I don’t. It just happens that way. In certain circumstances, it’s easier to do what’s not right, but it’s not right. I tend to think too much of the opportunity costs.

2. When I was in thirteen, other kids were crazy over online games, but six days a week at school, I was just dying to go home to see my fish and my turtle (I blame my mother for me being an odd child, she never let me have a dog).

And then there’s one day when I had just changed the water for the red platies, the wet glass bowl slipped out of my hand and broke, all the fish were jumping and gasping. I jumped on the floor barefooted among the broken pieces of glass, scooping the little fish and water in my hands and running to transfer them to a bigger tank. I made a few trips, but all the refugees survived the horrifying accident. My sister was a bit mad about the possibility of me getting hurt, she asked what I was thinking. I wasn’t. I did what I did without any thought, and that’s how I was able to sleep at night.

Afterwards, I was still wondering whether the fish would see me as their invincible savior or the cause of tragedy. Little did I know that they only had a memory of three seconds.

3. When I’m twenty-one, I realized that I could have the memory of a goldfish, given a certain amount of alcohol. This is not necessary a bad thing, because along with thinking more, I grew up and became less and less happy with myself, or with life at all.

The little fishy probably didn’t hold any grudge against me, because I was their food provider. The accident didn’t happen to them: it did not leave a trace in their tiny brains. They kept living without any mental scars, but they weren’t prepared for what might happen. Maybe what didn’t kill them didn’t make them stronger, but what for? They wouldn’t remember much anyway.

I don’t know exactly if the fish were happy about living without having to think too much, but I believe that they must have been. I could spend an incredibly long time sitting by the fish tank, watching the fish, and just the way they swam around calmed my mind. How could they not be happy when they make everything so simple?

I know that my life’s eventually a bumpy road, and I’m bound to get some bruises along the way, but it’d be great to wake up everyday feeling anew, instead of constantly asking myself questions I’m not ready to answer or thinking too much about the crossroad I’m at and where each path would lead to. For once, I just want to be a fish, living a scar-free fishy life.