I don’t know his birthdate or the exact time he died. Last night he was there. We had eaten dinner together just like any other night, and I had watched him and laughed as he gobbled up every last piece of his meal. But this morning, when I went downstairs so we could eat breakfast together, there he was. Dead. I just couldn’t believe it. My best friend…he was just gone.
Gilbert, or as I affectionately called him, Gil, was truly amazing. I remember meeting him for the first time. Immediately his small, dark as midnight eyes met mine and there was this instant connection. He was the perfect fit for our family. At first, he was quite shy, hiding behind anything he could find. I think he knew we could still see him, and I would chuckle and say, “Gil, c’mon, you have to come out from hiding at some point.” Reluctantly he would come out, and soon he really came out of his shell.
I started to learn more of his interests, like how he was a talented swimmer. The water truly was his home, and he would glide through it so swiftly and silently, his skin glistening and reflecting the fluorescent lights. I always jokingly told my parents there might be two percent dolphin in him.
Gil was always there for me. He didn’t really talk, but he was a great listener. With those same little eyes he attentively listened as I droned on about my day. Other than those times I spewed out all my thoughts, our relationship was mostly silent. But I think that made our bond even stronger.
Gosh. I never really thought he would be gone. Just like that. I didn’t think that fate, always so cruel, would take him away from his family. He was with us for almost eight years. We grew up together! One day he’s in my life and the next-
My train of thought was interrupted by my mom calling my name.
“What is it mom? I’m kind of busy right now,” I said, my eyes still moist from remembering Gil.
“Are you ready?” She said softly, now standing in the doorway.
I nodded my head slowly, and tried to push the tears back. I followed her into the bathroom and there he was. He still looked as radiant as ever, even in the bowl of the toilet. Oh, those eyes. Those same eyes that I stared into through the glass at the pet store, except now they were dull and without the same twinkle. However, his golden scales gleamed from the powder room lighting and I might have even still thought he was alive, maybe just sleeping. I started to have second thoughts.
“Mom, are you sure he’s gone?”
“Honey…” she said sympathetically, wrapping her arm around my shoulder and bringing me closer to her.
“Okay, just can you do it?” I hesitantly asked, “I think it’s too much for me right now.”
With that she nodded, and grabbed the silver handle as I said my final goodbyes. I squeezed my eyes tightly and prayed for him to have a safe trip as he traveled to somewhere where I hope he had an everlasting supply of TetraFin.
And just like that, all that remained was the hiss of the toilet and his memory in my mind.
Emily Williams ’18 || Online Content Editor