Second Chance

The eyes did not blink.  Do fish even sleep? thought Kyle, as he tapped the glass of the small aquarium that he bought on sale at LowMart.  He remembered how right past all the gardening gear, with its platoon of plastic rakes and standing soil, the aquarium section had begun. It had seemed to glow fantastically from the light mixing with the motion of water and fish, and he had been drawn as if they were magnets and he wore metal pants.  His eyes glimmered as he stared at them and he realized the opportunity.  Looking back, getting the fish and aquarium and paying the not so cheery cashier happened in hyper-speed.  He was pressing the fast forward button to the good parts and, like the fish, he did not blink.

To most people fish are not that exciting of pets.  They do not know and do not seem to be able to learn tricks, but to Kyle they were gold.  They glowed and shimmered while moving seemingly effortlessly in the treated water.  Kyle kept two fish in the tank and watched them whenever he got home from work.

The TV had stopped working a few weeks before he got the fish.  It had gotten bad reception and would go to the dancing dots periodically.  Kyle would get up and hit the side of the frame to bring the focus back, but soon his method stopped working.  The TV would not change until he smacked it twice, or more, until finally it would not change back at all and the screen went black.  He did not miss it much though. The people on the screen were not really there, just their image was.  When he had tapped the screen, they did not react.  His fish reacted and that made him happy.

Work always drained him so when he came home, he would plop on his sofa and drink a beer or two to relax.  He would nap for a while but never for too long.  He could never stay down for more than an hour or two before he shook awake, even at night.  This schedule used to bother him, but now his body had adapted and it was better than the alternative.  Before when he slept too long, he would wake up afraid, feeling alone, but now that he had his fish that had stopped.

Weeks passed and Kyle grew more content.  He loved when his alarm went off, telling him it was time for feeding.  The sprinkles spiraled and his fish danced, nibbling forwards and backwards to the rhythm of gravity and water resistance.  He even stopped grumbling when he had to get up for work.  The time was coming; he knew it finally would.

The day arrived and Kyle could not stop grinning.  It was his birthday and he didn’t have to work because it was the weekend.  Though no poppers were going off, Kyle felt as if fireworks were cheering just for him.  He began crying as he turned on his aquarium light, not out of sadness, but from joy.  They were there!  Suddenly loquacious he started bubbling out words, “I knew you would stay this time….I just knew it, you love me.  You won’t leave, right?”  The aquarium light stayed steady, just like the candle on Kyle’s cake.  His wish was already granted.

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