Most little girls wanted to be a princess or a ballerina when they grew up. Of course, I was different from most little girls. I liked to wear a dress at all times, even if it meant I had to wear pants underneath it so that I could climb into bushes and play in the dirt. I also didn’t want to be a princess or a ballerina, I wanted to be a cat! I came to this realization when I was a toddler. I imagine it’s partly because my family had a tabby who was the friendliest, sweetest cat you could ever know. To this day, I don’t know what happened to Tabby; but, I’m sure it was the positive impression she left which has ultimately resulted in my lifelong fondness of cats.
As a little girl, I’d regularly spend my Saturday mornings wearing a dress over my pajamas and watching cartoons while my young parents would sleep in after a long week’s worth of working. Among my favorites were Felix the Cat, Tom and Jerry, Casper the Friendly Ghost and Rocky and Bullwinkle. I had admired cats so greatly and thought nothing of them terrorizing fish in cartoons, except I concluded fish had to be delicious or cats wouldn’t work so hard to eat them! One day, as I was watching cartoons, I was reminded of how much cats were depicted as always trying to eat a fish and it just so happened that my mother had purchased a pair of goldfish for my sister and me.
I walked into the kitchen and I grabbed a fork, then I walked over to the fish tank. I reached into the water with my fingers gripping the fork’s handle, missing the confused fish as they wildly swam about. Realizing the fish weren’t going to comply with my efforts to spear them, I climbed on the arm chair placed next to the tank so I could reach in with both of my arms.
I caught one fish, but he slipped under the tank console and I couldn’t retrieve him. There was one more goldfish fish left, and I was very determined to catch it! It took a while; but, I was finally able to grasp the remaining goldfish with one hand, and jab the tines of the fork firmly into its slippery little body with the other. I pulled the fish out of the water and with its tail flapping frantically, I slowly shoved the fish in my mouth. After I had secured it behind my teeth, I pulled out the tines of the fork. The fish began to thrash around and to my surprise, it tasted horrible! I spit the goldfish out onto the floor and it continued to thrash and jump. I caught the fish and noticed the four little holes in its side. I’m not sure why it hadn’t occurred to me that I had hurt the fish until then; however, I felt bad and after a few remorseful pets, I gently returned the poor thing back into the fish tank with the other fish, which were my mother’s Neons and Mollies. The goldfish swam pathetically sideways and when my mother awoke, she was surprised to discover one goldfish was completely missing, and the other goldfish murdered and floating among its iridescent, loose scales on the top of the water. Meanwhile, I worked very hard at scraping the nasty tasting scales off of my tongue, and picking the rest out of my teeth that had stuck like popcorn hulls. I didn’t know better, but I probably deserved it.