Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Fish is Dead. Long Live the Fish.

Sometime early on the morning of Friday, January 17, Ben's pet fish, Cutie, died. I found him as we got ready to leave the house for the day, but let the matter lie. There was some question of how we'd handle the situation. We considered the Kia Optima solution. Most betta fish look mostly the same; we totally could have pulled it off. But we didn't. For one thing, it would have been logistically complicated–getting from work to the pet store to home in time–and for another, more important thing, this seemed like an important moment, and one I didn't want to be disingenuous about.

So shortly before bed, we sat Ben down and told him that Cutie had died. I felt particularly bad because we'd had such a good evening. He cried. A lot. But we read a bedtime story, and sang songs, and I held him and rocked him and sang to him some more. He cried himself to sleep, but he was better in the morning. We had a trip to That Fish Place planned for Sunday afternoon anyway (they let you feed the stingrays on weekend afternoons), so we used the opportunity to let Ben pick out another fish. And so we brought home Cutie II.
I've been informed that when referring to the new fish, I am to call him just Cutie,
and I can distinguish the old fish by calling him Cutie I.

Meanwhile, Cutie I was still waiting for his final rites. We asked Ben if we should flush him or bury him. He chose bury, which was fine, but the ground was frozen, and besides, I had (what I thought) was a better idea. So on Sunday night I prepared a pyre and invited the family to the back yard. Ben is a very big fan of Star Wars, and I thought honoring Cutie the same way Darth Vader was honored at the end of Return of the Jedi (according to Ben, "firing him") would appeal to him. Unfortunately, the wind was strong and I couldn't get the fire to light properly. Ben requested to go inside, tears forming in his eyes. I felt bad, but what could I do? I stayed outside until the fire burned the pyre (not so much the fish), then I buried the remains (in ground that was not as frozen as I thought it would be).

Cutie Rezendes