Blue Fish, 2015, Karen B. K. Chan
When I was 13,
I had an auntie who had a tropical fish tank in her basement.
This is a true story about the fish that lived there. In this tank, there was all kinds of landscaping. Rocks and tiny little trees and castles and
bridges. I thought of them as fish furniture. In one of the corners, all the furniture fell together in a way that made a perfect little cave. And in this cave lived a group of little white
fish. Day and night, they would swim in circles
inside the cave. Even though the tank was very spacious the little white fish would swim only in circles inside the cave. Even when it was feeding time, the little white fish would attack the food
and race back to the cave as if they were being attacked. Apparently, many years ago, there used to be a big blue fish and it would taunt and terrorize the little white fish and sometimes it would even kill them. But that was years before and that blue fish had long since passed away. But the little white fish just lived as if
the blue fish was still there. Thinking back on this story now, of course I can’t help but ask myself What’s MY blue fish?
What still threatens me that has long since passed? What enemy lives only in my head? And what about my little white fish?
What busyness and frenzy do they get up to? Do they even know when they’re swimming
in circles? What would they do, with themselves and
with each other, if they ever stopped? And what is my cave made of?
What do I think protects me? What would really happen if I eased it open
or tore it down?