A/N Everything you recognize belongs to the very creative people at ABC and Shonda Rhimes & Co. I'm only borrowing, so thanks for letting me!
I have absolutely no clue what possessed me to write this story, but it was in my head and wouldn't get out…strange how that happens sometimes. It's way too sad for my liking (consider yourselves warned), but anyways…Enjoy!
Goldfish in a pond live quite a dangerous life. One second they swim about, unsuspecting, doing goldfish-things, and the next moment – 'swoosh' - the neighbor's cat strolls by in need for some breakfast. Or 'swoosh', one of those nice birdies in the sky feels the need to nose-dive into the murky waters to secure dinner. Or a little less swoosh, and the water slowly starts turning, depriving the beautiful fish of their much-needed oxygen.
When I was a small child, I saw all three things happen with my own two eyes. I remember sitting idly by, watching with morbid fascination as those little creatures fought for their life. Sometimes it took seconds – birds don't waste time in inspecting their goodies. Sometimes it took minutes – cats tend to play with their prey before killing and enjoying it. And once, after the water had turned green, it even took two full days for the last one of those colorful animals to suffocate.
And while I always felt sorry for those pretty fish that brought such calm and joy to my otherwise unpredictable and volatile life, the thought that I could rescue any one of them never crossed my mind even once. All it would have taken was a wave of my hand to shoo stray cats away, a bit of jumping about to scare off the circling threats in the sky. I could have brought one of my Mom's mixing bowls she never used anyway, filling it with fresh tap water to keep the tiny swimmers out of harm's way until our neighbor down the street sobered up enough to change out the foul water in his dirty pond. A lot of 'could haves'-'would-haves', but it's a moot point thinking about it really, because as it happens, I never did any of it.
All I learned from this experience – repeatedly – was that eventually, if I waited long enough, there would be new goldfish in the water. I kept checking back regularly, and one day not too long after the last one had gone, there they were – the new ones. Just as beautiful as the others, just as active and entertaining to observe. Sure, every batch was slightly different - they varied in their color schemes, in their behavior beneath the water's surface. But I wasn't interested in that. All I cared about was that there was a new distraction for me, something to do when I had to flee my house because the situation there had once again spiraled out of control. These fish were my solace in a very strange way.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that the same replacement system didn't work with humans. That when my Mom went, she was actually gone for good. My little mind couldn't grasp the fact that my biggest protector would leave me alone on this earth willingly, when she herself had disappeared to a better place so far away. All of a sudden I began to realize the enormity of the goldfish-scam, and I got angry. Angry at our constantly wasted neighbor for letting his fish die in the first place – and for then just recreating his pond as if nothing had happened. Angry at myself, because I'd never moved a muscle to come to the precious animals' rescue. Angry at the world, for never telling me the real story about where those colorful creatures had gone, letting me believe instead that everything in life could be substituted. And angry at my Mom, for preferring to spend her time in heaven, instead of enduring hell down here on earth with me.
This anger, that has since fueled many decisions in my life, has never completely gone away again, and I often wonder when the foundation for it has been laid. Was it really only the day I found out about the finality of mortality? Or had it been much earlier, when I was a toddler, raised in anything but a loving home?
I guess I'll never know for sure, but the reason I'm telling you this story is that even though I've learned a lot since my childhood, I still have a hard time accepting the ultimate eternity of death. I know it's funny, considering what I do for a living, but somehow it's different when it concerns yourself - there's a certain distinction between your professional and your private life that, I'm sad to say, you'll never get to experience.
Nevertheless, I wanted to let you know a couple of things. Despite - or maybe because of - the way I was brought up, I would have made sure to have let you know I loved you unconditionally every day for the rest of your life. I would have taught you right from wrong. I would have been there for you every single second of every single day. And most importantly I would have told you the truth. Not just about death, but about life, and all its many facets.
And while I don't think that you could have saved every metaphorical goldfish that crossed your path – literally or figuratively – I wanted you to go through life with your eyes wide open. To not assume things just because you hold them to be true. And now that I won't ever get the chance to do any of those things, maybe, just maybe, I can learn through the stuff I'll never be able to teach you - and become a better man myself. Because even though we've never met, you've already changed my life forever.
Anyways…enough for now. Say hi to all my goldfish-friends up there. And to your grandma. I'm sure she'll take good care of you. I love you baby girl. Bye-bye.
Alex Karev took a deep breath and turned away from a mountain of flowers atop a tiny headstone, his features frozen in place. He had learned a long time ago that anger didn't solve issues and that certain things in life were meant to be, but this outcome was just impossible to accept – it was by far his toughest trial yet. And though he had no idea what tomorrow would bring he was sure of one thing – he would, once again, survive.
I know, I know, too sad!!! Nonetheless, I sincerely appreciate every review I get :D Thank you for thinking about hitting the button below! xx