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"I Feel Sorry For you"

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“I feel sorry for you,” said the Carnival booth operator, “so I’ll give you this fish for free.” It was that one sentence that brightened the dark hole that was my horrific childhood, filled with a demon-spawn older sister and a mom who always turned a blind eye to her constant torturing of me.

“Thank you, sir.” I said politely to the man, letting go of my mom’s hand to greedily snatch away the plastic bag encasing my new best friend. I caressed the flimsy bag holding my dearest pet; the water distorting his image to an orange blob so I couldn’t get a good look at him.

“Sweetie, if you let us leave the Carnival we can go to the pet store and buy him some presents.” said my mom, and I said that was fine and held her hand till we got to the car where she could strap me into my car seat. “What’s his name?” my mom asked, and it didn’t take me long to think of a name, seeing as how it was Halloween and the Carnival was Frankenstein-themed.

“Frankie.” I said, and before I knew it we were in the pet store buying over a hundred dollars worth of fish care products, and I was so excited because the gravel in his fish tank was going to be rainbow.

The first thing I did when I got home was unload my new friend Frankie into his new globe-shaped home, complete with a little house, a palm tree, and rainbow colored gravel. I could barely contain my excitement, and it was no surprise when my older sister strolled inside my room to tell me what a stupid pet Frankie was. “Look, he doesn’t even do anything,” she told me, “he just swims into his house to take a nap and be lazy. Only someone stupid like you could like this pet.”

“Be nice!” I cried, “Can’t you see he’s trying?! He’s a good fish and a good friend!” But my sister just ignored my pleading for her to stop teasing Frankie, and I could that my precious Frankie was getting weaker from her relentless torture.

Then, one horrifically scarring day at Frankie’s feeding time; I skipped inside my usually bright and cheery room to find it dark and unwelcoming. The stench of death slapped my young and innocent face, and I just knew something was wrong. Slowly, as if in slow-motion, I turned my head to my best friend’s home, to find him belly-up and gasping for air. My five-year old survival instincts kicked in and I quickly grabbed the fish net to get him out of the water. “BREATHE!” I shrieked, flinging Frankie around the room to get the air in his lungs faster, “BREATHE THE AIR!” I thought Frankie was listening, but it was already too late. After a couple minutes of my heroic efforts, he stopped moving, and not even my helpless wailing would bring him back. He was dead.

I hurled my grieving body into my mom’s room and flung my arms around, getting her stomach wet with my snot and tears. “He’s dead!” My hysterical voice managed to get out between shrieks. My mom just patted my head sympathetically and told me everything was going to be okay.

Later that day, after my mom and I went through all the proper fish burial rituals and final goodbyes, we flushed Frankie down a toilet filled with flowers and fish food. It was my first encounter with death.

It still took me a long time to get over being without the presence of my aquatic friend, so I was crying a lot. My sister still teased me about it, and years later, when we had a friendlier relationship, I found out that she had murdered him; taking his fish food out of the bowl when I wasn’t around and hitting him when he wouldn’t do tricks. I guess she was kind of jealous that our mom let me have a pet fish, while she was still begging for a dog. I did learn a lesson though; never spend so much money on a fish you got from a Carnival when you have a sadistic homicidal older sister who wants it dead.





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Jason H. said...
Nov. 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm
I really like your article, it is very detailed and made me visualise things greatly. i to have dealt with death in my life and i know what you went throught its not easy! All you can do is stay strong!
 
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