By Moriah Story
It all began when I found an aquarium at a church yard sale. There it sat, unused in the box, collecting dust, waiting for me to snatch it up. For only a dollar, I purchased the little tank that would soon house my first pets of my very own.
On August 20th, in the year of the pandemic, I browsed the brightly colored fish in tiny cups along the pet store walls. My eyes rested on the most flamboyant betta and I knew he was the one. He had big, swishy fins of red and blue and an air of intelligence, even for a fish. I named him Podrick (yes, from Game of Thrones) and I carried him home in a plastic baggie along with a plant and a little brown snail named Pedro, the perfect companion for a betta.
I was surprised to find that Pedro was equally as entertaining as Podrick. Where would he be when I got home? Perched in the little teacup? Eating a cucumber? Stuck to the side of the tank? I never knew. And I could watch Pod swim for hours, his fins rippling as he dove for food or explored the plants.
I’ll admit, there were times I dragged my family out of bed to behold the activities of my tiny friends. My camera roll has no shortage of blurry pictures of a swimming betta and a climbing snail.
Was cleaning the tank gross? Yes, and if you ever ask me nicely, I’ll tell you about the time I accidentally sucked tank water into my mouth. Did caring for them turn into an expensive and time-consuming hobby? Yes! But I would do it again in a heartbeat. Pets are a comfort, no matter their size.
Two weeks ago, when I returned to my dorm after work, I found Podrick floating at an odd angle. My heart dropped. I wasn’t expecting to cry over the death of a two-inch-long fish, but I’ll admit the tears flowed freely. It wasn’t until I began cleaning the tank to rescue my snails (Yes, plural. I added Frostine to the family a few months ago.) that I was saddened to find Pedro was dead as well. I still don’t know why they passed away, but it was probably a combination of factors. Fish are, unfortunately, very easy to murder.
Frostine still lives on in my tank, but it isn’t quite the same. However, despite the sadness of their loss, I believe the six months of enjoyment I had with them was worth it. Podrick and Pedro were the first of many pets I hope will accompany me over the years. Hold your furry or scaly friends tight, because you never know when the time will come for them to go.