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Animals: Always with me

Joined: 4/15/2015
Posts: 1
He was my friend, my confidant, my sounding board. When I came home from school, he was the first one I rushed to see, and told him stories about my day. Every gesture from him meant a reassurance of sorts. I always was very close to my parents, but as an only child, he was almost my sibling.
To most people, Ashutosh was just another red beta fish, but not to me. I got him as a present for my eighth birthday. I had pestered my parents for over a year for a pet that I could take care of. He arrived in a beautiful fish tank with a bright orange lid. The tank, no bigger than a shoe box, had been decorated with a neon green satin bow. I saw him and squealed ecstatically. He looked at me and puckered his mouth wondering what was so special about him. I knew immediately that we would be best friends.
“Ashutosh, you’re here”, the words slipped out of my mouth.
It was a name that had stuck with me from an Indian comic book I had read that summer break. He seemed to like his name. He swayed his tail fins gracefully and rushed to the other end of his plastic mansion.
We moved after two years. Everything was new, but it was all an exciting experience. ‘Ashu’ was eager to hear all about it. I even took him on a tour of our new house, gently carrying his tank. Something about the new place made him strut around the tank excitedly.
The first weekend in our new home, it was time to clean the tank. Mom followed the usual routine, transferred Ashutosh to the same lidless clear container, cleaned the tank at the kitchen sink, and waited for an hour for the water to get conditioned. I was busy doing my homework. Mom went back into the kitchen to continue her cooking. I heard her scream. I rushed to the kitchen and mom was frantically trying to pick up a shivering fish from the kitchen counter. She somehow managed to put him back into the tank. I sobbed as he sank to the bottom, looking at me, and trying to squeeze out a final goodbye with his side fins. He did not want to leave me. He had just been so excited about his new surroundings that he jumped extra high and fell out. I said I was sorry; maybe a lid on the box could have prevented the accident.
He fought hard for four days to stay alive. He barely swam and then gradually stopped eating. On Wednesday, when I came home from school, he was at the bottom of the tank, lifeless.I cried so much. We buried him in our yard seven years ago but Ashutosh has always been with me. When I recently got a high school award, I came home, opened my journal, and told him all about it.
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