This I Believe

Ying - Worcester, Massachusetts
Entered on November 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Honorable Mr. Chan

I believe in love. I believe that love has no rules. I believe that no one should have to hide their love. I have met people who love with no shame; I have met people who ridicule love because they fail to understand. I think this is a shame because ridicule has the power to scare someone into hiding what they love. For me, the one ridiculous thing that I have loved is a fish.

One weekend my best friend slept over at my house. The day was ending. We laid on the couches staring into space with bored expressions on our faces. I had the sudden inspiration to jump up and exclaim, “Let’s buy a fish!” My friend jumped up with the same energy and we dashed out and into the car. We later sat laughing at a red light at our own spontaneity. We soon owned a red betta fish named Mr. Kelvin Chan.

When we got home, it seemed like Mr. Chan would die. He refused to swim and floated to the surface of the water. We poked him on the head numerous times that night; he ignored us. I ignored him except for feeding time and his weekly water changes. I figured he would soon die. Until then, Mr. Chan lived in his bowl on my drawer with my bamboo plant and the occasional bobby pin.

I eventually grew to love this little fish. It was endearing to look up while doing homework and see his face looking back at me, or to see him swimming to the front of his bowl to watch me when I entered. I began to research betta fish care. Mr. Chan soon had a new home: a five gallon tank with a heater. Nothing was too good for Mr. Chan.

I followed a piece of faulty information which claims that adding a medicine tablet with each water change is beneficial. Mr. Chan was slowly dying. For one week he struggled to breathe, swim, and eat. He died on a Tuesday. It pained me to see my fish in so much pain. I hate that he had to suffer for an entire week before passing away. I hate that he died alone, even though that probably doesn’t mean much to a fish.

I felt relief and sadness over his death. I was glad that he no longer had to suffer. The corner of my room he occupied is now empty; I will never see his face looking back at mine. He was only a fish, but that won’t stop me from expressing how much he meant to me. I like to think that he was happy when he was alive and that he knew how much I cared for him. I have no rational reasons to explain why I love Mr. Chan. It might be a ridiculous love, but it’s okay because I’m not the only one who is in love with something ridiculous.