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(A short story of 2606 words)

Goldfish Man


by Janna Grace

When my father's brother came to visit, he filled our entire room. My grandmother's eyes would disappear in her thick brown wrinkles and often my mother would sing. My father would sit on his low stool by our window and carve as he listened. Sometimes his shapes would take meaning and turn into a cup or a bowl. But other times, especially after he’d been in to the village, the shavings would quickly disappear, slice after slice dripping from his fingers to the dirt floor, his hands left holding a figure with many arms or legs, heads and mouths–but always without eyes.

A long time before, my father's brother had brought me a goldfish from one of his travels. Every time he came to visit, he would bring a bigger bowl and every time after he left, my goldfish would grow. We would sit together on the floor by the door and I would hold the larger bowl as he slowly poured the water from the old into the new. My fish would flap and swish at the last moment before he leapt in, flashes of gold glinting in the sunlight as he claimed his new home in the churning water. I never named him. He was too beautiful for any word that I could think of.

I remember that visit as I remember his last. Crystal clear, like my goldfish’s water when it has just been changed. I can almost see through it, see through every bit of it to the room behind. The visits in between are all muddled and muddy but the day he brought my goldfish, he told us a story about a panther...

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