Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Empty Fish Tank

Almost exactly a year ago to the day my husband brought Mr. Odie home to live with us. He has been one of the best pets ever... considering he's a fish. For one, he hasn't died yet. In terms of our experiences with fish, he's a centenarian. Hell, he's freakin' Yoda.

The kids really wanted a kitten, in fact, Sidney had launched a full-blown campaign to persuade her father that our family was sadly incomplete without a pet. When Christian brought Mr. Odie home the children were enthusiastic (even Sidney, who declared this "was not what she meant by a pet"), especially since Mr. Odie was a Betta Fish. Up until then, we'd only welcomed standard Tetras and Mollies into our tank. They were fun to have around for the week or so they managed to stay alive. Betta fish are apparently much heartier creatures. In addition, Mr. Odie has real personality. He comes right to the glass when you peer into his tank. And they say a Betta Fish is as playful as a dolphin. If you drop a ping pong ball onto the surface of the water, a Betta Fish will push it around the tank with his nose. Although, if Mr. Odie can perform this trick, he's keeping it a secret from us.

In honor of Mr. Odies's annivarsary, I'd like to share a poem I wrote last year prior to his arrival.

You see, the fish tank occupies what I consider valuable real estate in the kitchen. It's located on a stretch of wall between the end of the countertop and the table -- a space where I have always envisioned a bulky, rustic sideboard-like piece of furniture where I could store table linens and the overflow of dinner ware. There was almost a year between the passing of the last fish and Mr. Odie's arrival. During that time, the fish tank was empty. I wanted it dismantled and moved to the garage, but Christian liked the look of an aquarium and enjoyed the percolating sound of water through the filter. So it stayed. Empty.

I'd planned on framing the following poem and hanging it above the vacant tank, as a passive-aggressive jab at my husband's stubbornness. Before I got the chance, he brought the Betta home. Mr. Odie, this one's for you!

The Empty Fish Tank
By Nicole Ducleroir

Giggling water gurgles
from a guppy's ghost town tank
It sits fishless in my kitchen;
Stubborn husband I have to thank.

He'd see the stretch of wall undressed
should the vacant tank disappear;
That the spot would sport a buffet
is ignored by his id austere.

The battle of mismatched iron wills
rages on the silent front line.
I'll bide my time, but once I find
that perfect piece....
The space is MINE.