When I was eight years old, I had always wanted a pet. But my parents did not, although they eventually let me have a fish tank in my room and some fish. I had about five or six small fish. I usually had guppies or neon tetras. Neon tetras have a shiny blue stripe going down their sides, and guppies can be many different colors, mine were the red or blue ones. They were pretty and fun to look at. My tank had colorful plants and pebbles, and like most eight year olds, and I liked colorful things. The lights reflected off of the plastic jewels scattered across the floor of the tank. The most interesting thing was some of them got pregnant, and then they had babies; the baby fish were very cute. They liked to hide underneath the different structures they had in the tank, one of them being the Eiffel Tower.
I had always liked the idea of taking care of something, but in reality I became lazy and bored with it. I do not think I ever named the fish because some of them looked too similar to each other. After a couple of weeks of having the fish, I had grown tired of feeding them and often forgot. They started to die more frequently and they smelled bad. Once my brother took one of the dead fish, and cut it in half with scissors. The fish was so small that the insides just looked like a pile of goo. Sometimes on Sunday afternoons, I would go with my dad to Petsmart and replace the fish that had died that week.
“Don’t die fish,” I said to them.
“Blub Blub,” replied the fish.
I would wake up sometimes and see dead fish floating at the top of my tank. Their small little eyes made me sad. I felt bad that I was not taking care of them well enough, for them to survive even a week or two. I think the fact that the fish were easily replaced, made me a little less sad.
I learned that being lazy comes with consequences. If I had fed my fish multiple times a day like I should have, the fish probably would have lived a couple more weeks then they did when I was not feeding them well. That was a long time ago, and now I have cats, and I would never let them go hungry.