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Feeding the Pond Fish This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

The current blew the bread in my hand as water seeped into the edges of my goggles. I stealthily crouched underwater, my flip-flops partly buried beneath my feet and waited. In my hand I had a piece of bread that was writhing like it was alive. A dozen pairs of eyes stared at me from under the dock-tiny little specks of light and the innocence all animals seemed to possess. Together they moved forward and a dozen more little eyes treaded behind them, and a dozen more, and more. They cautiously swam forward and I saw scars etched across their sides, a missing eye, and a bitten tail-all from fishing hooks, and their individual journeys to stay alive. Sunlight glinted down through the water and shone in beams to the sandy bottom, illuminating the fish’s shiny scales.

Two to ten inches in length, most were a dull yet beautiful brown with fantastic black stripes and sharp fins. Others were spotted with silver red colors, gaping upturned mouths, and even more different than that. These fish depended on people for a food source. They hovered around the dock until little toddlers dropped crackers, a broken snail, or any other edible food in the water. Then they would swarm to the piece until one brave one would take a nibble and soon a fight broke out, the fish flipped in the water as if it were electrocuting them. Occasionally from the midst of the swarm, a huge and predatory bass would swoop under them and pull a small fish down before disappearing into the murky depths. Sometimes even an eel showed up-elegantly and harmlessly flowing through the pondweeds, turning on its side to display a single beady eye up at the surface

All of a sudden the fish I called a sunfish came closer, and I began to feel my lungs ask for air. Just one more second, I thought, just one more. Then a multitude of fish appeared. A dark black fish with clear eyes stared at me intently before cautiously nibbling the edge of the bread and darting away into the now giant crowd of his own kind. Slowly one by one others swarmed to me. Though the piece of bread was large I could feel the aggressiveness of the bites they took. Finally the fish swarmed around my hand like bees and ate until I released the bread, sending it slithering through the water followed by a measly few fish. I reached up to take a breath before diving back down with another piece of bread I had been holding above the water. I swam next to the fish until they scooted away-but I followed. They were amazingly quick and agile, maneuvering around each other like still objects. I followed until the cold hit me. I stared but could only see black and the greenish glow of tails disappearing. I had hit the edge where the sandy bottom cliffs off into a barren black darkness. There I held my breath and stared at the almost enchanted depths and with my hand outstretched with more bread, watched a few more glowing eyes appear and slowly make their way into the light.



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Santa said...
Apr. 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm:
i enjoyed this essay very much it captured my imagination and reminded me of some of my childhood remedies.
 
AlannaWriting replied...
Aug. 27, 2012 at 8:14 pm :
Thank you! That means a lot. 
 
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