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little fish

by | Nov 7, 2023

As time spirals inside of me, I can’t help but feel closer to who I was when I was 4. There is always that feeling of past days, like when my mom would boil the water when the heater died. As a kid I would’ve been seated on the floor, naked and grimy, waiting for the water to be warm so I could wash. My mom would let it cool just enough—pouring it in rations over my head as the day sunk down the drain. I can remember the feeling of a laugh in my chest as I splashed my mom, or the ceramic fish that sat on her bathroom counter that I loved. She would say to me; “You’re my Little Fish.”

And I would giggle and squirm, making a ruckus of the bath tub as I rivaled Moby Dick in his own havoc. I had no gills and yet I was surely the biggest fish in the sea—first prize worthy. I told my Mom that men would die trying to catch me, and that they’d be too scared to get close.

“I am deadly.” I would say.

Needless to say I was a confident thing. That Little Fish is still somewhere, lost in Lake Marion. I think I left her there by some accident, packing my things and failing to notice the sudden lightness in my bags. Little Fish spends her days by the marina, terrorizing the boats with a laugh as she moves the stumps and rocks. I miss Little Fish, in all her wild glory. I’m scared that I’ve tunnel visioned my way through the woods, leaving her waiting at the shore for a return that will never happen.

Now, when I boil the water, I am usually cooking something. I am no longer a little fish, rather I am expected to be more. To sit on the pontoon with my friends and laugh and flirt across the way, waving my hand and winking. We replaced the heater years ago. I know it sounds strange and ungrateful but I wish the heater would give out one more time.