As I put my feet up and settle into my couch to read this morning, I am distracted by something…or rather, the absence of something.
To my left I hear an unfamiliar hum coming from the refrigerator, while to my right I hear…nothing. Ahh…so that’s it. I’m used to the bubbling, soft gurgling of a huge salt water aquarium full of water and life presiding over my living room. But this morning it’s gone.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with his fish tank ever since Steve died. At first I had fantasies of ridding myself of the responsibility for its upkeep and all those fishy lives with a swift blow of my sledgehammer. (See “Sledgehammer,” posted here 2.20.15)
But Ellie wasn’t ready to see it go (and I knew I had to demonstrate at least a modicum of self-control). So we enlisted the fish store guys to come show us how to maintain it, and I agreed to assist in the messy, stinky process if Ellie would be the number one tank cleaner. But she’s been away at college for a year, with more and more of her focus naturally shifting away from home. I felt the time had come.
Yesterday, Danny–a sweet father of two young girls–came to take it home. Now he will enthusiastically tend it with them, sharing the thrill of picking out colorful fish, corals and anemones, watching them grow and change over time. I hope his family will enjoy witnessing his “maternal” side come out as he coaxes and cares for them. Maybe he will stand in front of it with his wife in the evenings before turning out the lights, mesmerized by its living, liquid beauty.
So this morning I’m filled with both regret and hope. Regret that we will no longer enjoy this tangible reminder of Steve, but hope that his lovely water world will bring joy to this young father and his family.