Sarah called this morning to let me know that Fish died. Not one of those pretend deaths that we have witnessed in the past where he doddered at an odd angle through the water, eyes glazed over, holding his fishy breath. Or that time he vaulted out of his bowl and lay helpless, soldered to the granite counter, and Sarah scooped him up with a pancake flipper and dropped him back to his natural 500 cubic-inch environment where he revived.
"Sam doesn't know yet," Sarah said. "He's on a flight from Toronto."
Poor Sam, I thought. He will be crushed. It's difficult to watch your children go through such trying times.
"I'd like to speak at Fish's funeral," I said.
The services were held about five in the afternoon along side that pile of dirt off to the side of the front yard. Fish's body lay in a tasteful, plastic acetaminophen bottle.
Elliot, age 8, and Louis, age 5, wanted to see the body one more time. Sam unscrewed the cap. Elliot looked and then Sam. Then Sally, age 1+ had to look. I had to look. "He was a big fish," I said, admiring the bright orange carcass.
"He's bloated," Sam said. After everyone saw the dead fish, Sam screwed the lid back and placed him in the hole that had been dug moments earlier.
"Welcome to the service for Fish," Sam said. "Grandma wants to speak."
"Shouldn't we have a hymn?" I asked.
"How about 'Ere you left your bowl this morning, did you think to pray'?" Grandpa said.
"No," Sam said. "Elliot, do you want to say something?"
"Love you, Fish," Elliot said.
"Love you, Fish," Louis said.
"Lip stuff," Sally said.
"Grandma will speak," Sam said.
"Grandpa, Elliot and I have known Fish since he was a baby in an aquarium at the pet store. We chose him from the other fish, because he had a special orange glow about him. He was special from the beginning."
"He was a brave fish," Grandpa said.
"Okay guys," Sam said, "fill in the hole." And they did and then they stomped the dirt down and Louis said, "Let's dig him up."
And Sam said, "There will be no digging up."
So we went into the house, ordered Chinese and watched Frozen in the basement.