Friday, September 16, 2011

Mr. Aro Left Us A Number

The day our Arowana died I felt a hollow somewhere inside. 

Seems like when we share space with another living thing, we become familiar with its life and habits and we develop a kind of emotional attachment to it.  That's why I refer to him as Mr. Aro.  He's more than just a fish.  He's a Golden Arowana.  At times I wished he could bark and wag his tail, perhaps like a Golden Retriever.  But all I got was his enthusiastic dashing around, expecting me to feed him whenever I took down the container of fish food.

That morning when I raised the shutters, opened the glass door and stepped into the shop I had an awful feeling.  Mr. Aro no longer swam over to greet me, waiting eagerly for his breakfast. 

I'd become accustomed to his eye-balling me and following me around every morning as I moved about switching on the lights, the air-cond and the PCs. 

But that morning I looked at his tank and my heart sank.  He was floating deadly still, pale looking, tail down and head hanging behind some pipes and cables in a  far corner of his tank.  I didn't switch on his tank light.  (I wanted to take a picture but couldn't bring myself to do it).

As I was extra busy that day, with Jeff and wife away attending a seminar, I went about attending to business first.  Then I sent Jeff a message saying, 'so sorry, the fish is dead'.  He was too busy to read my message, so the next call I got from him, after finishing work discussions, I told him. 

He called later and told me to wrap it up in plastic and keep it until he came back from the seminar.  He wanted to have a last look.  After all, he was the one who raised Mr. Aro from a fry of 3 inches.  That was 10 years ago.

I wrapped Mr. Aro in plastic, went out and bought half kilo of coarse salt, 2 bags of ice and packed him in a box and left the box in the back of the shop over the weekend.

The strange thing was, a few days before Mr. Aro died, he did a curious thing.  He thrashed around in the tank like crazy.  Fearing that it might have been a short circuit, I switched off the power supply to the circulation pumps and light.  (Of course, there's no such danger.  Fishes can't get electrocuted, I was told).  In the dimness of the tank I noticed a 4-digit inscription on his left gill plate.

Well, I'm no punter.  I don't gamble.  Besides, most of those 4 digits can be a number ranging from 0 to 9.  Your guess is a good as mine.

R.I.P. Mr Aro.  Wish you a better existence in the big river in the sky.


  1. LC, this fish was well loved n cared for. I can just feel it. Hugs brother.

  2. My condolences to you... people who love pets have to undergo this sad process... I don't gamble too but how about 'listening' to Mr. Aro... perhaps this is his last wish for you to return the all the favors through the years?

  3. You are a sensitive soul and I am so glad to have made a connection with you.

    So sorry about Mr Aro.

    You wrote "Seems like when we share space with another living thing, we become familiar with its life and habits and we develop a kind of emotional attachment to it". You are right!!!

  4. Thanks for your kind words, folks. But actually I left out the details about how Jeff moved Mr. Aro from his house to the shop only a few months ago. I haven't met Mr. Aro before that. In that short span of time (compared to Jeff and wife who reared the fish from a small fry 10 years ago) I seemed to have 'grown accustomed to that face' because I was in the shop most of the time.