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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. January Theme: "Peace"
Volume 2 Issue 2 ISSN# 1708-3265

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In Keeping With Fish
by Monica Lane

I sat very still, watching the dog sleep and listening to the refrigerator hum. The air conditioner kicked on, and the filter on the big fish tank made a splattering noise. Waiting. Resting. The lady of the house would be home soon, and I had a long night of entertaining ahead of me. She would need much attention and placating. I heard the key in the door. The dog pounced up off the couch to greet her, jumping five feet in the air, as dogs do. She praised the dog, and then I was next. I jumped up to meet her in my excitement. She loved it that way. She reached out to touch me and I kissed her fingers. She liked that too.

She continued past the living room and into the kitchen, dropping her purse, shoes, and emotional baggage along the way. She pulled the rocking chair out of a corner and sat in front of me. She lit her cigarette and drank her white wine with ice, watching me. Staring at me as if I had the answers, but she asked no questions. She kicked her feet up onto the footstool and started talking to me about her day. I acted interested, but I did not speak. I knew she did not want to hear from me; she simply wanted to be with me. She looked away for a while and watched Sabrina and Kelly taking turns riding the bubble wave. She stood up and pressed her nose to the front glass of her big fish tank for a moment, and then gently reached in to reposition the rock that her two angelfish lovers, Charlie and Jill, mated near. They thanked her by nipping at her arm hairs. She rewarded their affection by sprinkling their flaky food in a sweeping motion across the top of the water.

She had started keeping fish a few months ago after the traumatizing end of a reckless relationship. She wanted the distraction. She thought they would bring her peace. She wanted something to fill her time. A peaceful window to an exotic world. All of that is precisely what she received in addition to an amount of pride and satisfaction, a love for the fish and the hobby, and a beautiful centrepiece to place her dwelling around. Besides the big fish tank in her living room, she had a small fish tank in her bedroom, because she needed to fill that empty space too.

She sat back down in the rocking chair and proceeded to drink her white wine, smoke her now short cigarette, and meditate to the sound, the vision, the life, the other world behind the glass; the better world behind the glass. The dog nipped at the fish behind their protective barrier, vying for her attention, dying to be involved in her newfound tranquility. She felt the refreshing cool of the water cleansing her. She moved through the glass as if it was permeable. She dove under the plants and kicked playfully at their perfectly flawed foliage. The day lifted off of her revealing a beautiful and satisfying essence. She kicked off from the whitewashed rocky bottom and glided up to the mischievous spraying of the bio wheel waterfall. A quick dash to the bubble wand, and a free ride with Sabrina as she flipped sideways and glided back and forth through the water. She floated on the top relishing her excursion, and then let herself sink back down to the jungle of plants in the far corner. She poked herself in and around and through the tropical forest she had fashioned and came upon the driftwood cave; the secret hiding place. She could disappear in there for a short while and nobody would find her. But wait; oh how she wanted to visit the lovers on their rock before she ran out of time. She swooped around in a graceful dive, and headed back out into the open waters to find Charlie and Jill. They were waiting for her with their huge soft fins and enveloped her in a loving hug. They placed her on the rock and held her softly while she napped. What a perfect world. Clean and pristine. Thriving all on its own. Correcting itself and righting itself. Living and breathing and recreating itself. She owned this world. She made this world. And she could visit it whenever she wanted. Transforming herself into a beautiful goddess who floats on air and walks on water.

Later, when her therapy was complete and she was whole again, she turned off the light and went to her bedroom where I was sure Jake would tantalize her with his back-flips and graceful water-dancing until morning; his long pink fins splayed out all around him while he performed his upward and downward spirals for her amusement. She would drift off to sleep while visiting him in his beautiful world, and awake to his morning caper. Realizing I was no longer needed, I swam away from the glass, kicked up a gratuitous spat with Charlie and his Angels, and then dove under the java moss and into the driftwood cave to call it a night. Nobody would find me there. My window to her world had been turned off for the time being, and Jake would be keeping the human until morning.

Monica Lane is single and lives with one dog, one cat, and several fish in Wichita, Kansas. She writes quirky fictional stories using her animals and daily minutia as her muse.

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