Celebrity Fish

“Oh, I can’t stand our gardeners. They’re imbeciles with machetes,” my platinum blonde, chic- dressed aunt wearing black, flat ballet sandals very seriously informs me as she collects gourmet shrimp sliced into even pieces. She mushes it with her fingers with another fancy meat and delicately pours it into the secret lip at the top of the floor-to-ceiling salt water fish tank. Her gold charm bracelet dangles and skims the water. It makes a soothing sound like the household water fountains you can buy. It’s oddly comforting.

“Just what I always wanted: celebrity fish—so high maintenance,” she jokes as I jot down the preparatory steps to feed these MAC make-up colored fish, since I’ll now be feeding them from time to time.

The largest one, a clownfish I think, is looking right at me. Staring. How rude! How dare this silly fish with the fancy diet look at me like this and without blinking (Do fish blink?)

I see what’s going on here.

I’m losing it.

I’m moving into a new apartment and now understand the definition of stress so much so that I’m getting mad at … fish. Tonight I do the walkthrough with my landlord and pray she doesn’t see the hole in the closet.

I sit here in this empty room on top of my vintage piano waiting for Debby, my soon to be ex-landlord, to show up. It’s the last piece of furniture left. It’s got to go. Sadly, there isn’t room in the new apartment for her, and I reach down to run my fingers along the keys playing the odd note as memories cloud my vision. I didn’t mind then that the piano was out of tune, and I don’t mind now. I love her. I play another few keys knowing this is the last time my fingers will play this piano. I lean my head back so it rests on the wall and look around. This is the apartment I mourned my first love in. I remember sitting in my red piano chair with the duct-tape holding one of the legs together writing a love song and crying my eyes out. I remember sitting over there on the patio smoking a cigar until five in the morning with the man I now live with. I can see my tiny mom running around the place in her pajamas puffing on a cigarette refusing to smoke it outside. I remember the fight it caused. I’ve worked on countless auditions in this living room, and taken countless baths in that tub I always wished had claw feet. I peer into the kitchen. Is that my fridge? That’s weird … seems smaller. But who would come in here and change out the fridge?

I curl my knees to my chest, rest my head, and let myself cry. My eyes open and I just stare out … kind of how that clownfish was. I suddenly don’t feel so different from that fish. Maybe the fish was just having a moment … kind of like me?

Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com.

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