An Empty Aquarium

January 22, 2010
When I walk into my living room, I see an object on the cabinet, surrounded by framed photographs. It is a fish tank, an aquarium made up of thick, clear glass and black plastic. It has the potential for being the centerpiece of the room, but it’s not. The aquarium possesses the qualities of an outstanding aquarium: landscape, filters, and highly colorful and diverse fish. However, this particular slice of ocean life is missing an important component; it’s sans water.

The landscape is nice, although the fish probably enjoy it more than I do. Multi-colored pebbles coat the glass-bottomed aquarium, reminding me of a beach I went to with one of my best friends- my nine-year-old cousin, MK. Colorful tropical plants dot the aquarium, making the tank seem like a snapshot of summer. The plants look realistic; at least, they did before I closely examined the faded plastic plants. The filters seem eerily quiet and make no bubbles while aerating the tank, an amazing feat. They look old and worn down. I soon come to the realization that the filters are so quiet because they are no longer working. My eyes are next drawn to colorful fish; however, if I had looked at the same fish for more than a second or two, I would have noticed that that particular fish, and all of the other fish in the tank, are fake. Phony. Pretend. The seemingly colorful fish are no more than a child’s rough clay imitations shoddily made and sloppily covered in gaudy colors. They are useless, tasteless replications with no heart or soul to redeem them. The pictures that surround the tank are the only things that are truly real and not replacements of some kind, capturing memories long gone and never to be relived at a later date. The snapshots date back to happier days, when love and happiness, untainted by bittersweet reminiscences, were easier to come by.

The empty aquarium sits on the chipped white cabinet, taunting me. Mocking me. Mirroring my life. Reminding me every day that my life is also missing an important component; it’s sans Dad.

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