Don’t say his scales glinted like lost deep sea treasure. They were more copper, and besides, he was a freshwater fish. Don’t mention his name, which your brother chose after a Pokémon fifteen years ago. That will only make the eulogy into parody. Do mention those fifteen years and that he was longer than the piranhas a ninety-nine cent fish like him are fed to. Eyes will widen: it’s harder for someone to mock you when they gape. Omit his cataracts. No one’s impressed by failing eyesight. Don’t explain how the sucking of his filter kept you awake at night. You’ll appear bitter. Mention how he only once tried to commit suicide by leaping from the tank, and how you brought him back by pumping “Stayin’ Alive” into his chest. That will sound heroic, and people will be impressed that you showed him that he had things to live for. Don’t mention that you didn’t think he actually had anything to live for, and that you hoped the myth about five-second memory was true. Don’t mention the year the tank turned phosphorescent green, then inexplicably cleared up; you’ll seem negligent. Don’t say you wept. You didn’t, and saying this would make you look unreliable. Do mention that you hugged his tank as he convulsed and twitched at the bottom of the tank. That’s compassionate. Don’t disclose that you only did it because you felt obliged to. Do mention how you still see his lazy circling in the corner of your eye. How you still think you hear the filter running from your bed. How the silence in your living room is more audible than the twenty-four watt motor or his water-smacking gulps of the shrimp pellets.
Adrian Southin studies poetry and fiction in the Writing department at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. He lives in constant reverie of the Canadian Pacific Northwest.