My sister’s neighbor knocked on the door yesterday. She was holding a fish.
Not in the palm of her hand mind you, but in a bowl.
It’s purple. Or purplish. And standard pet-fish size.
His name is Sushi.
My sister’s neighbor said, “Can you guys watch him for a week?”
“Sure,” I said.
She handed him to me and said, “If he ever looks dead, just tap on the glass.”
To that I asked, “But lets say he is dead?”
She didn’t respond.
I almost asked again, but she was already knee deep in the snow, halfway back to her house. I think she said she was going to Tampa.
I put the bowl on the dining room table, and then wrestled with my sister’s golden retriever in the den until we were both out of breath.
We were nose to nose on the floor. Staring into each other’s eyes.
I thought, “What’s the difference between this beautiful dog and Sushi? What’s the difference between me and Sushi?”
Gills aside, nothing.
So I did what I knew I had to.
I got up off of the floor and took a seat at the dining room table. It was just me and the fish.
But what do you say to a fish? A fish who lives alone, in a universe composed of only a couple of cups of water?
I felt a little weird, but I said the one thing I’d want to hear if roles we reversed.
I established eye contact as best I could, and with all sincerity I said, “I love you.”
I said it again and again and again.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
For about twenty seconds.
I swear he started to swim with more vigor.
As for me, I felt less of the world’s weight. At least for a little while.
“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” – Aristotle