The little goldfish leapt out of the water leaving a rainbow-tinted arc in the air. Missing the larger fish bowl set next to its own by a fraction of an inch, it landed on the floor and flopped around staring up at the ceiling, the table, and the opening mouth of the cat. Swallowed in one slippery gulp the goldfish sank into the warmth of the cat’s insides. The cat licked her paws and purred. To the fish it sounded like angels humming. The purring reverberated through its flapping gills and fluttering fins, and as the goldfish breathed its last, it reflected on the way things had turned out: “Well, I tried,” it thought, “I didn’t want to die not having tried for the larger bowl. My bowl was fine. It was comfortable and I liked it a lot, but the other bowl seemed well, just so big. I thought if I landed there it would make the children happy when they got home from school wondering how on earth I got in the other bowl…The bowl they were planning on putting me in anyway…Oh well, I wanted to make them happy. I wanted to feel the water from the larger bowl singing through my gills. But I missed. Now I’m nothing…The children will be so sad.” And those were the last words the goldfish consciously remembered before it sank into an illuminated blackness. When it opened its eyes it was blinking in a blinding, brilliant light. And it felt water—the most refreshing, cool, and invigorating water it had ever felt or tasted coursing through its body. When it was finally able to focus it realized it was splashing and swimming through the largest body of water it had ever experienced. It was swimming through a pond dappled with golden light. The sky above was blue with billowing clouds moving like majestic cities. Castles of lilies drifted lazily over the pond, cattails swayed along the banks, frogs with gold-flecked eyes sat hidden in the reeds. The goldfish had never felt so free, so grand. And as it neared the shore it saw through the shimmering water, two children, a boy and a girl, looking down into the pond. “Look,” said the boy, “that is the biggest koi I’ve ever seen…look…it has a crown on its head. It must be the king of the fish!” “That fish looks familiar,” noticed the girl. And as she leaned closer, her night-black hair touched the water. “It looks like our old goldfish…you know the one the cat ate three years ago.” “You’re right,” said the boy staring in wonder. And they sat and watched the resplendent goldfish tracing glittering golden patterns in the crystal blue pond for the rest of the luminous afternoon.
Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog