Yesterday I dreamed about two unusual fish.
The fish swam in a waterless limbo. Their fins glided so effortlessly like kites catching the wind. I myself didn’t understand, but they wanted to tell me a story about their first meeting. The first fish had a weak fin. Although her scales shined and glimmered, they could not make up for the fish’s apparent disability. The other fish was beautiful in her own right. Her eyes were a brilliant blue hue. Unfortunately, she had poor vision. Since they once lived in separate tanks, they had never met each other for the longest time.
In fact, they had never seen each other, despite their homes being adjacent to one another. A potted bonsai obscured their views. The fish lived so close yet so oblivious to each other’s presence, as neighbors sometimes are. However, this all changed one summer day. That day, the waters turned murkier than usual for the poor-sighted fish. Her owner noticed the algae blooming, so naturally he decided to clean the tank. In doing so, he transferred our first fish friend to the home of the second. Frightened by the large pink hand, the fish fainted.
She woke up.
The unfamiliar waters made her tense. As time grew and her nerves calmed, she slowly swam around and noticed the larger space where she had been placed. She was then alarmed when another fish approached her. She sped away, faster and faster until she realized she had no idea where she was going. Unaware of her situations, she cut her weak fin on coral. Her blood laced the water. She hid in the nearest corner. The second fish followed after, but approached quietly upon the sight of the injured fish. The second offered to bandage the wound with some kelp. Dialogue ensued. It was so natural. They befriended one another, swimming, playing, exploring and gifting each other cute little pebbles.
Unfortunately, time flew too quickly. Their adventure had met an end. When the owner finished cleaning the first fish’s home, he took her back home. The first fish was upset more than ever before. She cried, but of course, who could see a fish’s tears in the waters? She meditated, trying to decide what to do. However, she could not forget the other fish. A minute passed. Then, there was a scream of loud obscenities. The owner had knocked over the bonsai, soil gushing out of the pot. Visible was the mangled green tree, which laid dead on the ground. The shattered pot that once divided the tanks destroyed.
At that moment, the two fish had heard the noise. They swam up the edges of their homes to see the clear glass walls which separated them. For a while, they were convinced that saw each other. They played, swam around and showed each other pebbles just as before. However, it felt slightly off. Why was there so much mimicry? They were duped by the artificial memory of their friend. They only saw their own reflection in the cold aquarium walls.
The first fish quickly gave up hope. Her fin grew stronger and she later became adjusted to her solitude. She needed no one and lost all memory of her blue-eyed friend. However, the second would not give up. Her vision grew worse and worse each day. Over time, she only saw blurred shapes and figures, yet she was certain that she would see her friend. It was the same day her own tank was due for a cleaning. As soon as the owner removed the lid, our blue-eyed fish made a heroic jump. She fell for an endless period of time, and then she felt nothing. Her vision turned black.
Translated from Russian, read the original version here.
Original Story by Kathy Pham.