The following story is the autobiography of an angel fish as told to Sara S. The story is entirely true with the exception of unknown facts and feelings. Also, Angel did not travel alone. Angel was adopted in March of 1991, and she died the following March. Angel now rests buried in a sandwich bag full of water. This story is written in memory of Angel.
Just Another Fish in the Sea
Hello, my name is Angel. I'm an angel fish. I'm slightly over a year old. When I spread my fins, I'm over five inches tall. I am a champion swimmer and love to scuba dive. I am a freshwater fish. I was born in a fish store, just like many of my relatives. I have lots of brothers and sisters. This is the diary of my first few months.
My whole life really began when I was three months old. Up until then I was a normal angel fish living with my family and friends. Then when I was about three months old, I was taken out of my tank with all my friends and family and I was thrown into a small plastic bag. This is the end, I thought. I had been taught of the cruel humans, how they put you in a small bag and locked it like a prison. One of my friends had told me about that. I had seen several of my friends being purchased like slaves. Now, it was my turn.
I guess I was pretty stupid. I knew that whenever the dreadful booby trap was lowered into your apartment you should swim away, but what could I do? I was trapped. Those moments I was out of water were pure torture. "Put me back in the water," I tried to yell but no one heard me. I was lowered into the plastic bag.
So this was it. My life was over, and I was only a few months old. I felt very sorry for myself. I waved goodbye to all my friends. They all looked very sad to see me go. I knew they were wondering what would happen when they were caught because I had often thought about that myself. But I never thought I would get caught. Now it was my turn, and I would finally find out what happened to fish who were caught. I didn't think I wanted to find out.
I swam around my new surroundings. It was very small and I didn't have much swimming space. Also, it had no gravel, trees, or friends. I looked out. Some people were staring at me.
It's Not the End
I looked up at the humans -- the people who would now kill me. There was a woman and a young girl. They were big and towered over me. The girl said, "Hi, Angel." These people are going to kill me, I thought, but they seemed, well, almost nice. Why didn't they just get it over with? I wish they would just shoot me, or slice me. I didn't want to suffer a slow painful death.
Suddenly I became scared. I was locked away. I could starve. I didn't know what would happen next. I began to cry. My water became very salty. If I were back home, my mom or one of my friends would have comforted me. Even though I had only been gone a minute or two, I already missed my friends and Mom. But that wouldn't matter soon. Soon I would be dead. Dead! I hate death. One of my sisters died a couple of weeks ago. I burst into a set of fresh new tears at the remembrance of her. I tried to stop crying, but I couldn't. Where would I go? When would they kill me? I had no way of knowing.
An odd thought struck me. Maybe all of the fish were being held captive, or were moved to another store. I had no proof that I would be killed. Being trapped at the store, I had no way of learning about the outer world. Still, I had no proof I wouldn't be killed either.
I guess it's true that you never appreciate something until you don't have it. I never realized how much I liked the store. We had always joked about how it was a prison. But, still, all my friends were there and people took good care of us.
Maybe I would go somewhere else. After all, sometimes we get new fish at the store who tell us of their journeys. Maybe I could still live. Maybe I'd make new friends, and then again maybe I wouldn't.
All the while I was puzzling over the mysteries of moving, I was being carried towards an object. I was loaded into it.
The Roller Coaster
I had never seen anything like this creature before. It was huge, much bigger than the people. Almost as big as the store.
Before I knew it, the woman had opened a side in it and shoved me in. I wondered if the creature was good or bad. It had two rows of things that looked like tables. I was in the front on the girl's lap. The woman sat next to us. She put her hands on a big wheel and spun it.
Vrooooommmm. There was a loud rumbling noise. It came from under us. The creature began to lunge forward. It was going much faster that I ever swam, and I am very quick.
My water splashed around me. This was scary. It was like a tidal wave that my aunt once told me about. Everything shook and I began to feel seasick. My water crashed against the sides of my small bag.
This was crazy. The creature kept speeding and the loud noise continued. My water rocked back and forth. I didn't like this. Was this death? I didn't know. I sat petrified for a moment.
Suddenly the creature swerved to the left. Then I understood the meaning of a saying my mom had often told me, "Don't rock the boat."
"Help," I yelled, but no one heard me above the noises.
"What are we going to do with her?" the little girl asked.
"She'll go in the ten gallon with our other fish," was the reply.
Other fish? I wondered what kind. My thoughts drifted, but not for long because I saw the creature jerk up, and speed into downhill action. This was the bad creature who is going to eat me up. But no, they said I would go into a tank.
I looked up. I saw other creatures. Oh, no! They were going to bump into us. We turned right and narrowly missed being hit.
The creatures were next to us. They were in front of us, and they were behind us. They were everywhere. We were surrounded!
We went up hills and down hills. We curved to the left, then the right. My water was dancing to the beat of the noise. Forward, went the car. Swish, swash, went my water as it parted and crashed like waves! Then the water came back down with a splash.
Well, wherever I went, it would be different. Up until now I had lived a peaceful life with my friends. We had swam the tank together. We had eaten and slept together. We were a family. But now, I was all alone. I was probably in another country by now.
The creature began to slow down. Then it stopped. Thanks goodness the ride was over. I would've died in that creature.
I was taken out of the creature and the girl carried me into a big building, like the store. Immediately, I saw a tank. It has four fish in it, and I could tell they got along. There was a platy, a barb, a danio, and a catfish.
I was in my bag inside the tank for a while. When it was opened, I swam out, glad to see freedom again.
Home, Sweet Home
I looked around. In the tank I saw three plants, a hollow tree, and a shell.
"Welcome," said the catfish. "How was your car ride?"
(Oh, so that's what it was.) "Freaky."
"Yeah, it's hard getting used to this. When I came here I was with them. My name is Tabby. I'm an Albino Cory. The red fish at the top is Dasher. She's a High Fin Platy, and she loves food. She hangs around the top. Zsa Zsa is the one with black and white stripes. She's a Zebra Danio, and she's very active. That's Sherry Barbara; we call her Barbara. She's shy and hides in the bushes. I like to just rest and sleep down here and I eat whenever I'm hungry. Who are you?"
"I'm Angel and I'm three months old. Sometimes I get really hyper and dash around the tank, but mostly I just rest. Hey Tabby, you were in tank 10A, right?"
"I was in 9A."
"Come on. I'll introduce you to the other fish. This is Dasher. Dasher meet Angel."
"Hi, Angel. Welcome to our home," said the platy.
"Hi," I replied.
Dasher and Tabby seemed real nice, even if they weren't angelfish. Maybe I could get used to this. As we swam in search of Barbara, I turned to Tabby, "What are the owners like?"
"Don't worry, Angel. They're nice."
"Hello, I'm Barbara, and you are...?"
"Nice to meet you," she said from behind the plant.
"She's very quiet and shy," whispered Tabby.
"See you later, Barbara."
Then we went to see Zsa Zsa. "Hi, I'm Zsa Zsa. If you need anything, feel free to ask. I like helping cute angelfish."
"Hi, my name is Angel, but you can call me Angie."
I turned to Tabby. "Tabby, I'm going to explore the tank. Okay?"
"Yeah, I understand. You want to be alone," said Tabby.
"Thanks," I said.
All's Well That Ends Well
During the next few weeks, I learned about my tankmates. We get along very well. I really like it here. I think I'm hitting a growth spurt. It's amazing to me how much I've grown up in the past month. It is hard for me to remember when I felt new and uncomfortable in these surroundings. My family is just a faint memory. Now I am well adjusted to this tank. It is my home and I want to stay here forever.