Today I observed as my fish swam around individually in their separate glass bowls. They are positioned close together – close enough that the bowls even touch. One of the fish has been swimming quite lethargically lately and often sinks to the bottom of the bowl. She doesn’t come to the surface much anymore and sometimes it takes her a long time to eat. It is almost as if she has to make herself eat…she is merely surviving these days.
These two fish encapsulated in their own tiny environments, swim around and around all day – watching, waiting and looking at the other. One will swim up as close as she can get to the bowl on the other side. She waits and waits – forever waiting – for even a glimpse of the other fish; a shimmer of his tail, a movement of his fin, a wisp of an air bubble – anything tangible to see that she is not alone. And so, all day…she waits. Hoping that the other will be waiting for her. Waiting…waiting…always waiting.
But she is most certainly alone. This isn’t an ordinary alone…it is a tortuous loneliness because one can see the other. They can almost enjoy each other, almost spend time, almost be together…but they will never really be together. They are merely pretending. Is this agony for them? I will never know, but surely it is worse to know that the other is there, to understand there is someone out there like them and yet neither can do anything about it. Ignorance would most certainly be their bliss, wouldn’t it? It is quite cruel to place their habitats excruciatingly close to one another. I may move them soon. It would make me feel better, at least.
A pair so close – close enough to touch – yet in two completely different spaces. They are, in fact indelibly meant for the other but they cannot – are not – supposed to be together…and that is just the way it is meant to be.
Is it any wonder that one of them is dying?