I walked into Oliver's room to place some clean laundry on his bed and then looked over at the fish tank. The newest Lightning Strike arced to the gravelly bed without ability or will to stop his fall. He'd happened into the filter's outflow and was pushed down forcefully, bouncing onto and off of the bridge before coming to rest on the bottom.
My heart clenched at the sight of his pending death. Guppy2 was frantically swimming around Lightning Strike, under and over, trying to prop him up, urge him to live. It was a beautiful display of concern really, and I don't think I'm anthropomorphizing. They danced, life and death entwined, and I sat there sadly rapt.
Darth Fishious and the neon tetra whose name no one can remember hid, one behind the thermometer and the other in the cave. Perhaps it was all too much to bear. Perhaps they know that Guppy2 and LS2 are buddies and wanted to give them space.
The phone rang, and I tore myself away, breathing deeply to center myself before the scheduled call. Afterwards, I returned to Ol's room and saw LS2 nestled in the heart of a plant; the filter must have directed him there when he last happened into its stream. He looked peaceful, gills moving but almost imperceptibly. A fun fluttered and then rested on his body. Gupp2 prodded LS2 with his snout as if begging him to wake. LS2 rallied, but I know the end is coming soon.
We have what seems to be a statistically improbable mortality rate in that tank. I'm going to get the water tested and the plant leaves assessed for I see a grim black fur starting to grow on them. In the meantime, I'm really very touched by the apparent bond between Gup2 and LS2.
All the things we don't know, we might start to understand as we watch a sad ballet.