(An update to this post appears below)
Aramis, our goldfish, is currently upside-down. He’s not dead. He’s just upside-down.
Goldfish are rather undemanding pets. I always used to think of them as being just one step up from house plants. But we’ve had these goldfish for over ten years and you don’t share your life with another living thing for that long without developing a bit of a bond.
We have two fish Aramis and Portos. The more well-read amongst you will realise they’ve been named after the Three Musketeers. Athos died a couple of weeks after we got them. The other two are hardy little buggers. Portos is the quiet one. Aramis has adventures.
He was the quick one, the faster swimmer, and he got most of the food and grew faster than Portos. And then one day, five years ago, or thereabouts, he lost an eye. We’ve no idea how he lost it, but suddenly he only had one eye. Since then he’s struggled to see the food and Porthos has overtaken him.
One morning, on the way out of the house on the way to work I heard a splash and a thud. Looking in the tank, there was only Portos. Where was Aramis? Ten minutes later I found him in the dust down the back of the cupboard. He wasn’t moving. He was dead, I was sure, but for some reason I dropped him back in the tank. He recovered.
He’s jumped out twice more since, despite our efforts to cover the tank and once spent a whole night on the carpet. How can you not fall in love with a little creature that clings so stubbornly to life, all the while doing everything it can to make life more exciting?
So it’s pretty upsetting to see our little considerably-more-than-a-houseplant goldfish seeing the world from a different angle. We’re hoping he’s just having another adventure and that it’ll all be okay in the end. The other alternative just might turn us upside-down.
We got quite concerned for poor little Aramis when his inability to control his orientation left him bashing his one remaining eye on the stones at the bottom of the tank. Drastic measures were required. We rushed out and bought a new tank and the invalid was transferred into there on his own with some medicine.
It took a while, during which he gradually went from being constantly upside-down to being sometimes upside-down, to spending a whole night lying on his side on the bottom of the tank as though he was in bed. It made you want to put a little blanket over him while he slept.
He is now, it seems, fully recovered and has been reunited with Porthos in the normal tank and both of them look happy to be together again. They are, once again, swimming strongly, and have reverted to their old tactic of attempting to splash you whenever you pass the tank to con you into feeding them again.