Jamba

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The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and I was happy. Even today, I remember the date, October 4, 2001. Yawning, I hauled myself out of bed and sleepwalked to the door. I reached up to get the doorknob. Still stumbling, I came out into the shortest hallway I had ever known. I closed my eyes and could smell the enticing aroma of fresh strawberries for breakfast. Remembering that my grandma was here (the reason for the fancy breakfast) I walked into the kitchen. Since I had been expecting the general clamor of a busy morning, the silence was surprising.

“Dylan” my dad said to me in Korean. “I’m sorry but Jamba is gone”

Let’s pause the story for a second and explain. Jamba was my pet fish that I had talked to and loved, fed and watched for 2 1/2 years of my 4 year life. To this day, I still remember the exact appearance of my little friend. His scaled were blood red, but shiny, like rubies. Being a Betta fish, to me his tail looked more like and explosion of flame and fuchsia than anything else.

It was of this I was thinking when I felt hot glassy tears roll down my cheeks. I walked over to my Grandma and sat down. She put her arms around me and said that it would be all right, that Jamba was in heaven now. The biggest thing about losing Jamba was that he was a sort of companion to me. This may make me sound like a loner, but this was 6 months before I had had a brother. Jamba was the closest thing I had, the way dogs or siblings are to some. Tearfully, I muttered something in response to my grandma and turned to my mom and dad.

“Where did you put him?” I asked.

Then I turned back away. The full importance of this event was starting to hit me, like a wall of black ice; it froze me and left me in the dark. I cried for hours that day. I thought about how I would never see him again. I guessed that this was how everybody felt when death hit. The next day, we buried Jamba. I am willing to bet that he still rests under that low, wide tree in my backyard that was so perfect for climbing. I visited him often, and when I moved, I said a sad goodbye. This was a quick ordeal because I didn’t trust myself near Jamba for large amounts of time, or else I would burst into tears.

Years later, at times of loss in my life, I looked back on this and realized that it wasn’t a big deal. Many different people have their own different ways to deal with loss. Mine was, and still is, to cry and feel sad, but afterwards get over it quicker than some would. But to a little kid, the smaller you are, the bigger everything seems.





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