Mr. B is gone.
And nobody really cares.
Mr. B was our Beta fish, which as far as I can tell is just a high-falutin' goldfish, but meaner. Mr. B wasn't mean, but that was because he lived alone in a glass bowl and didn't have anyone to be mean to. According to Jack's fish expert friend, Aidan, who helped us pick out Mr. B, if we'd put another Beta fish in with Mr. B, Mr. B would have gobbled him up.
I have no idea how Beta fish reproduce, given their proclivities for tearing each other to bits.
We bought Mr. B several years ago, and he made the move with us from our old house to Spencer Street. He lived in a bowl on the kitchen counter, where he was ignored by everyone but me. I fed him three pellets every other night, and kept track of his feedings on the magnetic erasable board on the fridge so I wouldn't forget.
Mr. B seemed genuinely fond of me. In fact, for a fish and one so roundly ignored, he seemed like quite a sociable little fellow. When I walked into the kitchen, he gave a couple of excited laps around his bowl. He knew I was there, and he was glad.
Despite his quiet ways and his friendly nature, Mr. B was a burden. Every time we went out of town for more than three days, we had to find a fish-sitter. Typically, this job went to our wonderful next-door-neighbor, Mr. Eddie. The Man and I made clear to Eddie that Mr. B came with a DNR order--Do Not Replace. That was our fear: That Mr. B would die in Mr. Eddie's care, and Mr. Eddie, in the tradition of tender-hearted fish-sitters everywhere, would run out and buy a new Mr. B, and then we'd have to find fish-sitters for three more years, and it would go on and on.
Mr. B lived a long life for a Beta fish, and from what I could tell, a very boring one. I felt sad when I realized he was dying--he'd gotten pale and wasn't swimming around very much at all--even though I had no idea what in the world Mr. B had to live for.
And then, one morning, he was gone.
Well, not gone-gone. The Man had a traumatic experience with our last fish, Gilbert, who seemed to be dead as a doornail when the Man tossed his little fish body into the toilet, but started swimming around like Michael Phelps when he hit the water. So when Mr. B passed, he lay dead in his bowl for a full 24-hours, because this time the Man wasn't taking any chances.
Jack got a little teary-eyed when he heard Mr. B was no more, but he recovered in approximately 46 seconds. Will was totally nonchalant, like, huh, whaddya know?
I still haven't erased Mr. B's feeding schedule from the magnetic board on the fridge. Maybe it would make Mr. B's passing all too real if I did.
As surprised as I find myself to say it, I'll miss the little guy.
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