Pinky was my darling fish – a beautiful pink convict cichlid – that just died this morning (Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 12 noon) from what looked like a cancer type disease that he’d acquired over the span of just two weeks. I’ve had him for a little over three years and I never, in my wildest imaginations, knew I’d ever lose him like this. I know this sounds insane, but he was the type of fish that would have lived forever (and by that I mean for a very long time). He was always the king of his aquarium, chasing and terrorizing the other fishes, making sure they never came near his territory. He was bold, fearless, but oh-so-incredibly lovable. And to see him so helpless, so weak, the last few days literally killed me. And it was then that I painfully realized that he would not get better and that it was time I said goodbye to my brave little boy.
Gosh, it’s so hard to write this post without bawling like a baby. I don’t even know how I went through this whole day, without thinking about the horrid fact that I lost my one and only Pinky. All I knew was that as soon as I saw my baby, lying lifeless at the bottom of the tank, I needed to get out of the house, ‘cause I felt suffocated. My reader needs to understand that he was no ordinary fish. He was my water puppy; my little baby; my darling pet. And I loved him ever so dearly. It just breaks me apart knowing that I’ll never see his adorable baby face again, looking at me through the aquarium glass each time I’d be watching TV or studying in the living room. There would be times that he would just swim in the middle of tank, staring at me, probably waiting for me to come close to the tank so he would rub against the glass (to show his affection). He was unlike any other fish, and gosh, I miss him so much. Every time I look at the aquarium, and see the emptiness inside, it shatters me. I know death is a part of life, and I need to get over it. But it’s just so hard right now. I know in due time I’ll be okay, but it’s still all so fresh and so shocking that it’s not something that I can just shove to the back of my mind and erase. Honestly, I never knew I’d ever get attached or even fall in love with a fish! I mean it’s ONLY a fish, right? They’re supposed to be dumb and boring. But my Pinky was far from dumb or even boring, for that matter. Not only was he incredibly gorgeous, but he was so smart. So incredibly smart. 😦
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had pets. But they were always limited to furry little creatures like rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, and even pigeons. For some reason, having a pet fish never interested me. I always found them odd, ‘cause they’d just swim about, minding their own business. And of course, the worst part was that I couldn’t physically touch or pet them, ‘cause the type of person I am, I love petting and cuddling. Plus, I always wondered how I’d even take care of them, ‘cause they live in water, and I often thought that cleaning water would be such a hassle.
And Pinky, well, his coming into my life was a fluke. A beautiful fluke.
It was late 2008, around the time my husband, Abaseen, and I first got officially engaged. Abaseen owned a 30 gallon tank, and I saw him filling it with water and decorate it with rocks and gravel. So, I asked him what he was planning to do and he told me that he used to own fishes a few years back, and he really enjoyed it. I, of course, was a little surprised learning that he’d owned fishes, so I was curious. He then told me that he planned to get fishes again, as it’s been a while, and I admit, it excited me a little, ‘cause I’d never owned fishes before (and never planned to anyway), but I thought it would be cool if Abaseen got some, just so I could get a feel for them, you know?
So, anyway, we went to this store that specialized in selling all sorts of fishes, and Abaseen told me that he planned to get cichlids, ‘cause they are colourful and pretty. I naturally had no clue about the different types of breeds of fishes that existed, but when I saw these “cichlids” that he was talking about at the store, I absolutely loved them. They were all so adorable! Anyway, we decided to buy about 10 fishes, so the dude at the store randomly selected 10 fishes from the huge aquarium, of which ended up being my beloved Pinky. I’m not sure how he made it into the mix, ‘cause he was not your typical long-bodied cichlid. Rather, he was more round, chubby, with a little bump on his head. (See pictures below.)
And once we brought them all home and placed them in the aquarium that Abaseen had set up for them, it wasn’t long that I started to notice how much smarter Pinky was as compared to the rest of the fishes. He was aggressive, territorial, competitive, and seemed to follow me every time I’d near the tank, while the other fishes would run away or hide behind rocks. I even told Abaseen how cute he was and hoped he’d live a long life, ‘cause I was always under the impression that fishes are extremely delicate creatures and have a tendency to die fairly quickly (which was true to some degree, as I remember a couple fishes had died from the 10 we’d brought home). Sad, I know.
Anyway, I acquired Pinky a couple months after Abaseen first got the fishes. Actually, he’d initially told me that he was going to get rid of him, due to his very aggressive nature. Turned out that he was so aggressive that he’d literally chase, bite/fight, and terrorize all the other fishes in the tank. And I, for some reason, found that so endearing. Don’t ask me why! He was just such a rebel! And, because of that, Abaseen was considering returning him to the store. At that point, I’d gotten a little attached to Pinky, ‘cause I found him adorable, and also due to the fact that the last time I was near the aquarium trying to feed the fishes, he’d bit my finger – love bite I’d like to call it, and ever since then I was smitten! I mean he was so bold that when I’d stuck my finger in the aquarium, he was the only one to swim up to where my finger was dangling in the water and bite it. Oh! I was immediately in love! And, so, I told Abaseen that he shouldn’t return him, and that I’ll take him in. Obviously, I had no experience with fishes, and had no clue what to expect, but that is how my love fest with Pinky all started.
Soon enough, I bought a 10 gallon tank, decorated it with rocks, gravel, and some decoration pieces, and in January of 2009, I brought him home. And it was the best decision I ever made. Pinky made me realize that fishes do actually have what it takes to make a human fall in love with them. And he is the first and last pet fish I’ll ever own, for I doubt there exists any other fish that could compare. Ever.
Oh, and as for the name “Pinky.” Well, he was pink-coloured, so I decided to call him that, not knowing that he was male. It was only later on that I realized that he was a male fish, but by then we’d all gotten quite used to calling him Pinky, and it suited him well, and hence that became his permanent name. I also brought him a “wife” a year after I took him in, ‘cause, well, I felt that he was lonely, and it would be a good idea to get him a pretty little female. She’s still alive, by the way, but I can sense she, too, feels a sense of loss. I’m thinking of getting rid of her. Maybe donating her to the store we’d originally bought her from. I can’t even imagine how lonely she must be feeling, without my Pinky, in that huge tank. Sigh.
All I left of him now are his endearing memories, videos, and photos. I am actually even thinking about taxidermizing his dead body, just so that I could have him immortalized in his original living state forever. I know I sound insane, but I hate the idea of flushing him down the toilet (it’s so derogatory, especially for such a beautiful, unique, lovable fish like Pinky), or even just burying him in the backyard. He is the type of fish that deserves to be immortalized, not just mentally, but physically as well.
May he rest in peace.