The Loach

Author: Nikolai S.

The short, cat-like whiskers of the fish scraped the pebbles of the aquarium. It’s body moved in a lazy arc around the the tank. The submerged plastic castle and stalagmites were like PYLONs guiding the LOACH’s path. Perhaps the loach thought it was a dragon screeching through the pale and murky blue sky, facing the VALOR of some mighty warrior from below. The creature could not see – it’s eyes a dull, murky white – but it’s BLINDness did not interfere with the instinct for the time, place, and taste of its ALLOTed daily meal. From one of the SLOTS above I poured lunch into the tank.

I sometimes imagine I speak to the loach. It helps me parse my thoughts. My feelings and instincts are indistinct and fuzzy until the clarity of my word, spoken out loud, crystallizes them into my truth. The sentences flow through the air like the loach glides through the water, my internal knots and emotions like the plastic pylons in the tank.

“What if today I reorganized the contents of the tank, of your world? What if I added new and removed old elements? Would this still be the same tank? Would I still be the same person? Would you let be someone different and to speak and find my new truth in the wake of this change?” I said.

“I’ll ALLOW it” the loach said out loud, to my surprise.

Author's Note

Written on a plane after listening to "A Wild Sheep Chase" by Haruki Murakami.