Perhaps I Will Always Be Haddock.

I think about the Koi fish. Those bright, orange darlings that swim around the ponds at the park near my apartment up here on the fifth ring road. Koi fish have always symbolized Asia to me.

If you go to that park you can see countless Koi fish. They are big and orange and fat from the children feeding them little pieces of bread. They swim under half moon oriental bridges. People like to go there and paint pictures of the Koi fish swimming around under the drooping branches.

I grew up on the ocean in New England. One of the defining characteristics of that part of America is the jagged, rocky coast line. They say that the fierceness in a New Englander’s heart and soul is caused by that same salt spray of the Atlantic.

Big, hearty fish live in the Atlantic. Lobsters, haddock, scallops, it’s all there. When I was growing up I worked in a seafood restaurant. It’s how I paid for some short trips to Europe. It’s how the settlers first survived.

Fish mean a lot to me, even if I will never live among them. I think about the coy fish and haddock, how each body of water has its own, unique aquatic life. I think about the depths of the water and all of the life teaming down there. All the things that I will never know about because its not my world and it never could be.

I always had that dream. That, if there was an Atlantis, then perhaps it had a spot for me. I could go there and they would accept me. Instead of walking to school, I could swim. Instead of seeing the gray, polluted sky in the evening I would just see the murky abyss.

I heard somewhere that fish lived in the time of the dinosaurs. If that’s true, then fish are a hell of a lot older than humans. I wonder if we will become extinct and if the fish will keep swimming.

And where there are fish there are sharks. A rule in life as true as any. The smaller fish run from the bigger fish. The bigger fish run from the sharks. The sharks rule everything but they are so greedy that they can’t think about anything beyond their next meal. Their next meal means more to them than any beautiful coral reef or delicate seaweed plant. Eat, eat, eat. That is the mantra.

I wonder if I were to pass, then would it be possible to come back as a fish. I wouldn’t want to be a small fish, but I also wouldn’t want to be a shark. Maybe I could be a Koi fish. Perhaps I will always just be haddock.


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