Diaries Magazine


By Owlandtwine
We stood huddled together outside in the yard.  A thin smattering of dark brown mulch covers the frozen ground.  The tree's branches above reach out thin bony arms, bare, still.  Moments before I dug a hole next to tree's trunk.  How deep for a fish no longer than an inch long?  Deeper?  Deeper. 
When I picked the boys up from school, I told them that Rosie had died.  That I had found her on the bottom of the tank that morning right after they left for school.  
Sully said, well how do you know that she was dead?
Because I knew, I said.
Probably because she wasn't swimming and she wasn't breathing - she wasn't breathing, right Mom? said Theo.
She was deep on the bottom - our fish who lived life as a floater.  And she was breathless.
She was just a fish, I tell myself.  Trying to brush my thoughts away like a wisp of hair bothering my face.  She was just a fish.  Then touch her.  Touch her!  And yet I could not.  I did not want to put my Friday hands so intimately on death.  I did not want to run my fingers over not-so-old stones still spinning in my pocket.  I did not expect a reaction.
We're going to put her back in the earth.  Come now.  
Standing next to the tree, we poured her into the hole.  In the quiet of winter, in the ground, she was salmon pink with magenta fins and fools gold speckles.  
Goodbye Rosie.  I hope you can swim in heaven, Theo said.  
I covered her with dirt and mulch and Sully laid a painted rock atop her grave.  
The boys promptly ran off, living wholly in the moment, and I took notice.
Swim to the light.
Swim to the light.

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