the goldfish

“I bet,” I paused for a bit to munch the fries in my mouth, “in your second life, you’ll be reincarnated as a goldfish.”

It had been quite… a long traffic jam. Things had been moving very slowly for a while. We had not really talked for some time, probably because you were busy driving, while I were busy eating, and occasionally, feeding you some fries.

“Oh, ya? Tell me why,” you replied, still with fries in your mouth.

“You’re a good swimmer. Just like… goldfish.”

You immediately rolled your eyes as you stared at me in disbelief, “Goldfish aren’t good swimmers. They just… happen to live underwater. Come on, I thought you’re smarter than this.”

“But they’re underwater 24/7, so they must be crazy good at it, no?”

“I breathe air 24/7, does it make me crazy good at it?” I couldn’t hold my laughter anymore because, well… I know you’re right.

You kept chuckling for a while as well before you continued, “See? Now, give me a better reason why I’ll be reincarnated as a goldfish.”

“Don’t worry. I have another one. Your memory is as bad as goldfish’s. You can’t even remember when my birthday is, even after I’ve been talking about it almost every day the week before.”

“Did I? Huh, I forgot your birthday again last year… ya?” you mumbled, with a puzzled look.

“When I asked you what date it is, you literally mentioned every possible number EXCEPT my exact birth date. And on the D-day, you didn’t even realize it’s my birthday until I brought it up.”

“I’m sorry, I guess I’m that bad at memorizing things. But I thought, birthdays are not important to you?”

“They aren’t, but it’s just funny. Because you’re so bad at memorizing it, that you can think of every possible date except my birth date.”

“Okay,” you breathed out loud, “I may not remember your birthday, but I do remember some things about you. And maybe, about us, too.”

“For example?”

“I remember how you always told me that it’s your childhood best friend’s house every time we passed her house, even when I don’t know who she is. Oh, remember when you made me visit several different bubble tea parlors with you just so you can get the limited edition plushies? You never ended up getting it,” you snickered. “And also how you said that it’s the worst fried rice you’ve ever tasted when I took you to a random cafe after we had our first big fight. You’re right, it was even worse than my cooking.”

“I also remember that junction on the way to your house where you kissed me for the first time. I almost hit my car because even when I knew it was coming—I mean, you asked me and I said okay—it was still a… pleasant surprise. And I still managed to drive safely, so we didn’t die in a stupid car crash.

Well, I guess do remember a lot of things, after all.”

I could see your faint smile, but of course you couldn’t smile at me because you’re too busy driving. I couldn’t help but to smile, too. You really are forgetful like a goldfish, but I guess, you do remember the things you want to remember.

“What if I’m reincarnated as your goldfish?” you said, after a brief silence between us.

“Noooo!” I shrieked. “I’d pray so I can be reincarnated as a goldfish too so I can be with you. No thoughts, just blub blub, the two of us.” You chuckled giddily.

“But being your goldfish doesn’t sound so bad. I know you’ll take a great care of me. Like always, right?

You’ll put on my favorite music and change the water in my bowl every week, you’ll give me my favorite pellets but also make sure they’re the healthy ones…”

“…yeah, I’ll make sure you won’t inherit diabetes…”

“But goldfish don’t catch diabetes?? But anyways, you’ll always look at me so lovingly, because you’re always like that. You spent several good minutes in front of the fish tank when we visited the fish market.

I guess, being a goldfish—or your goldfish—won’t be so bad, right?”


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