Frankie flushed his fish. He didn’t’ want to flush his fish. He loved his fish. He cared for him every day, making sure that the filter was clean, that he was properly fed. He frequented the pet store several times a month, ensuring that his fish was getting the best products to make him happy. Frankie would watch his fish swim, showing him off to his friends when they would come over to play. He was proud of his pet and would discourage anyone who thought different. So, he doesn’t really understand why he flushed it…got rid of it like it never meant nothing at all.
It was a Thursday afternoon in August when it happened. Frankie had a conversation with his mother that morning that he would not be able to spend as much time with his pet due to an upcoming fall baseball season. With practices and games, hanging out in his room with his buddy would slow down drastically. He was sad. He felt bad for his pet, and it was then that he decided that the best thing for his fish was to flush him. Frankie played God that day.
In fact, Frankie plays God everyday it seems. The way that he can so easily cast judgment on his friends at school or in his neighborhood. He doesn’t treat his friends as good as he should and only bases his feelings and decisions upon how he feels he’s being treated by them. He acts like every day is judgment day and his friends don’t like it. He calls his friends names, even though he doesn’t really mean it, but they deserve it for how they treat him. What about the day that Adam didn’t ask him to bat first? That hurt him…that’s why he called Adam a jerk. He tells Johnny his mom hates him is why she is never home…even though he knows how sad Johnny is that she has to work all of the time since the divorce. Sometimes he pokes fun at Richie for being a short guy too.
But, he wasn’t always so awful to his buddies. Certainly, they had days that they would head out early after breakfast on a Saturday and wouldn’t return until sunset and with the summer sun going down at 9pm…it was a long day. They would laugh together about memories from 3rd grade when Erica’s skirt was tucked in to the back her tights…Snicker and giggle,..and so on. But the laughter didn’t last very long until Frankie felt one of them were trying to hurt him because they didn’t’ call him first to play or that “so and so” was talking about him behind his back, so he’d dismiss them. He started pretending as if they didn’t exist, just like he felt at times….
….So, slowly, his friends started going away, one by one….finding reasons why they couldn’t play or couldn’t come over for a sleepover…or throw the ball around out back. Even though loyalty was important to Frankie’s friends, they felt as though it wasn’t worth feeling bad every time they got together….or every other time.
…Those summer days …in August after fifth grade progressed , and more and more, he noticed that he wasn’t being called anymore. He felt sad. He felt alone, and, in fact, very much like his fish that he loved so much. He was living his life all alone in his room, staring at the empty bowl where his fish would have been, staring back at him with no one ever having to touch him. He remembered walking towards his fish upon entering his room, and the fish would skit skat away because anything close to him was a threat.
Maybe he flushed his beloved pet because he felt his fish was expendable as he felt. Maybe it was Frankie, himself, that wanted flushed on that Thursday. But, instead, he flushed his fish, proving a point to hurt no one more than his own self. Standing above the porcelain, white toilet, feeling accomplished for a fleeting second that he was able to reject something so important, as he has been rejected by others..
,…and now the tank sits empty with nothing but a cold rock, something resembling that of a cold heart, scorned and alone…with no lesson learned….until 40 years later, his grandchild came home from school one day with a fish named Frankie.