So, upon receiving this precious finned friend (life span 2-3 years), he christened him "Maddie". Cute. Not a bit creative. Things were great between Will and Maddie. A pretty low maintenance animal. Then, about 2 weeks before we headed out, the fish's stomach started to become distended. By the time we put him in a Ziploc for the ride down, he looked like a drug mule who swallowed twice his weight. Brett and I were not optimistic that he'd even last through the trip. But, lo and behold, he survived not only the trip down, but also the transition to untreated well water. At this point, the thing looks like a freak of nature. His humongous stomach, now grossly bloated with air, became completely translucent. It contorted the rest of his body and essentially bent him in half. He had to learn how to anchor himself below the fake plant in his bowl in order to keep from floating to the top.
We knew it was only a matter of time, and we started to prepare Will that his fish might not make it. The fish became a source of amazement and laughter for Brett and I. After investigating a peculiar noise from the kitchen a few weeks ago, Brett declared, "That was the fish. It just popped." This was Brett's (and my) idea of a funny joke. But, we did know that Maddie's days were numbered.
So, it did not come as a surprise to me to find the fish completely motionless, at the bottom of its' tank on Tuesday. I tapped the glass a few times to see if maybe it was just sleeping, but he did not move. I'm not a fish switcher, and I wouldn't try to discreetly flush him without letting Will know what was happening. So, I told Will we needed to talk, sat him on my lap, and told him that Maddie (the fish in addition to the dog), was now in heaven. His reaction was so touching and heartbreaking, that I, too, was brought to tears. He sobbed. He told me that he loved her so much, and that he was sorry, but his whole heart was going away for a little while. I had no idea he would feel so sad. I explained that we could have a burial and sing a song and say a prayer for him and then bury him. He liked that idea, so I set off to find a small box. I was scrambling around the house, looking in closets and drawers and in the cabinet that Maddie's bowl is on top off for a fish coffin. And then, Holy Shit, like a bat out of hell, that fish started swimming. I couldn't believe my eyes. It must've been in a goddamn coma or something, because the thing was not moving five minutes before. So, now I have to go tell Will that, guess what- I just ripped your heart out for nothing! Your stupid fucking fish is still alive! Hooray! I felt like such an asshole to have put him through that, and that, along with the constant mess, is why I don't want any more pets. Who needs to explain heaven, forever, and near death experience to a four year old in one day?