By Farnia Fekri
My dear Bob,
It’s been two days without you to warm our house and already my family feels the strain of your absence. My parents have stopped speaking. My sisters are threatening to move out. Even the neighbours are fighting. The truth is that without you, we’re falling apart. I never knew what it was like to feel the clasp of grief choke the life out of a family until we lost you.
My dearest goldfish—I don’t know how we’ll celebrate the Persian new year, Nowruz, without your presence. We’ve laid out the traditional table but mourning darkens the mood. A fish-shaped shadow (small, but significant) is cast over our heads.
You stayed with us for three years, outliving the rest of your species by two years and 11 months. And then, on a cold and stormy Wednesday night, my mother accidentally dropped a picture frame into your water bowl while she was dusting.
Dusting, of all things. She killed you while dusting. She’s begged and pleaded for our forgiveness, she’s sworn that she didn’t do it on purpose, but who believes her? No one, Bob. No one believes her. She’s a liar and a murderer, and she took you from us.
Dad says you lived, tortured, for several days with a scar at your side. He says when he held your frail body, long cold with the ghost of death, he saw the split on your sunset-coloured scales. You were tortured to death, for days swimming around your little bowl, round and round, never saying a peep. Never asking for revenge. Oh, Bob.
I miss you, Bob. The little fish (fishes?) we bought to replace you are so stupid, you can just tell. They don’t compare. You know what I miss the most? Watching you say your own name all over again, gasping ‘Bob,’ ‘Bob,’ ‘Bob’ as you stared back at me. Opening and closing that little mouth—that’s why I named you Bob. Did I ever tell you that?
I will never forget you. I will always remember how smart you were to recognize your own name.
I miss you, Bob.