To my great, great granddaughter (from the year 3000).
This is the story of how I met your great, great grand-fish. A humble, vibrant, and beautiful betta. I know he’s not here with us today, because of the fact that he’s a fish with an average lifespan of 3-5 years, but he was the love of my life.
It all started my first week at Columbia College Chicago, I was a comedy writing & Performance major (a degree I later learned would lead me to work as a front-desk clerk at a Holiday Inn) and he was a swimming major (leading him to work in larger bodies of water.) He was smart, strong, and he figured out how to swim in between the small,flowered habitat that I bought him at PetCo all on his own. Nothing got in his way; especially when it came to me.
It started off simple. We were roommates who shared a desk. He was neat, compact, and quiet. He listened to me when I talked and he was great with eye contact. I’ll never forget those deep, black eyes; filled with wonder and thoughts like “Breathe, eat, swim, breathe, eat, swim, breathe, eat, swim.” He may have seemed simple, but he was a poet and everything was to be interpreted .
During my first semester of comedic study, I would bounce ideas off of him and see what he thought. If he liked it, he would swim around in little circles and if he didn’t like it he would also swim around in little circles. Again, interpretation was key. We grew fond of one another as time progressed and I found myself dreaming about him and the future we would live out together. He would work out in the great lakes and I would work at H2O ; a comedy bar right across from the PH*. We would have 400 fish-baby hybrids, but only two of them would survive and they would be named after the critically acclaimed and heart-wrenching movie “Lilo & Stitch.”
I dreamed for about a month and then I stopped dreaming because it all came true. Benny proposed to me on October 17th, 2016. A day before my 19th birthday. He took my hand with his fin and blubbed “Will you marry me?” How could I say no? he gave me a big, Opal ring and I went out and bought him his favorite Betta fish food (dried up worms) for dinner. We got married the following week and invited the whole family (except for my mother because I’m not caving in first.) The whole event was fantastic, we rented out the dolphin tank at the SHEDD Aquarium and all of Benny’s family came. Unfortunately, they also all killed and ate each other because they were all territorial Betta fish.
After the wedding, things were fantastic. We lived together in peace for 4 1/2 years before Benny fell ill and couldn’t swim to the top of his fish bowl to get food. I let him die a peaceful death by not filtering his water the next week. We had a good life and prosperous children. Your grandma, Lilo, was the first official mermaid with a fish head and human legs. She found your Grandpa, a man with a very specific kink, and made your mother. And now you’re here listening to the lineage of your family, great, great, grandchild.
I have never met a fish as plentiful or as kind as your great, great, grand-fish and I never will. I have since become a swinger in my old age and refuse to remarry. If you find a fish half as wonderful as Benny than I beg you to marry. Keep our half fish, half human hybrid alive!
Your great, great Grandma Jafei.
*If you don’t know, the PH theater is an actual theater in Chicago. They’re tiny, mighty, and you should 100% check them out. Now that you are informed about the joke you can head on up back to that fourth paragraph!