This weekend Jon and I upgraded our little fish tank that was sitting on the drain board of the kitchen sink for the past week, to a 10 gallon tank that’s in the living room.
I rearranged some of the furniture so the tank is between the chairs where Jon and I usually sit. Then Jon set up the tank with colorful gravel, and plastic plants along with live plants, a filter, bubbler, thermometer and light.
I stood by watching Jon, asking if I could help but mostly delighting in seeing him doing something he obviously enjoyed.
It was second nature to him, even though he hadn’t set of up tank like this since he was a kid when he raised fish, and had eight big tanks of them in his bedroom. “Filters used to be so complicated he said to me, you had to fill them with charcoal, and a layer of cotton and that stuff (fiberglass) that gives you splinters.” “Yeah”, I joked, “but that was a hundred years ago.”
When he was done and the two Gold Fish, Frida and Diego, the two bumblebee snails(we didn’t name them)and the new bottom feeder, Boris, were in the tank, we sat down to watch them.
And there we sat, for I don’t know how long, watching Frida and Diego get used to their new tank.
And then we sat some more, not talking hardly moving, just watching. Eventually Jon said he was going to get up to write, but he didn’t move, he just sat there staring into the tank.
This was unprecedented.
I imagined us wasting away to nothing, so mesmerized by the fish. Someone would eventually find our clothed bones sitting in the chair, like two Day of The Dead Skeletons, our skeleton fish and snails still swimming in the tank.
But eventually we roused ourselves from our stupor, trying to remember the last time we sat so still and quiet for so long.
This morning as we ate breakfast with Frida and Diego swimming between us (I wondered out loud if it was okay to eat lox in front of the), both Jon and I got out our camera’s and started taking pictures. That felt a little more normal and my Day of the Dead fantasy faded.
But even as I sit on the couch writing this, I’m glancing over at the fish tank on the table. Watching Frida and Diego swim back and forth between paragraphs.
Jon brought something beautiful into our lives from his childhood. And what a joy it is to share it with him.