“What are the fish doing down here?” I asked my nine-year-old brother, Tim. His fish bowl with two goldfish was on the table in the living room.
“They’re watching television with me.”
Our dog, Duke, had died only a week before, and the fish were the only pets we had left. We were all a little lonely without Duke. Smart dog. Good dog. His death left a hole in our home.
“What are you watching?”
“That’s about sea creatures. Do you think the fish like the program?”
“Be careful bringing them back upstairs to your room.”
The next morning was a Saturday. I got up late. When Tim came to the kitchen table, he looked sad, almost crying.
“What’s the matter?”
“One of my fish died.”
“I don’t know.”
“Did you do anything different?”
“Where is it now?”
“In a baggie.”
“Zipped closed, I hope.”
“Are you going to throw it away?”
“No. Bury it.”
“I’ll help you, in a minute.”
I finished my coffee, grabbed a shovel from the shed, and went with Tim to a far corner of our back yard.
I dug down about a foot. Tim laid the bagged goldfish at the bottom of the pit, and we put the dirt back over it. Tim had a flat stone with the letter “F” written on it, and he placed it on top of the grave.
“Tim, what’s the ‘F’ for? Fish?”
Later, when Tess asked me what our little brother had been doing, I told her. She started to laugh at the burial and the stone. I warned her not to let Tim know she was not taking his loss seriously.
To Tim, Fred had been important, and his death was nothing to laugh at.
Another in a series of fifty we have written about this family. Each makes a point.