Hachiko is Baby’s gift to me on our third month. I must have hinted that I wanted a fish, and I must have jokingly specified I wanted a fighting fish in one of our late night conversations.
He’s a Siamese fighting fish, doomed to eternally live a solitary life.
I had six pet goldfish when I was in college who stayed with me until just before graduation. They all perished when my landlady, whom I left them to be taken care of while I was studying in Kuala Lumpur, overfed them with those green-and-red pellets.
I named all my goldfish before so when they died because of my landlady’s over-eagerness, I felt that gaping hole of having lost loved ones. But I never blamed my landlady as fishes have naturally short lifespan, though I won’t deny that I had this urge to serve her coffee mixed with what was left of my fish’s pellets after she told me that she killed my pets.
I can’t have a dog because I move around quite often (and I never really liked dogs; they’re overly patronizing and love licking). Cats are fine because they’re intelligent, independent, scheming, and non-obtrusive, but I can’t have one unless I have a place I own.
I guess, so long as I continue living a life like this, moving from one place to another almost every six months, I can have nothing but fish as pets. I do nothing much except to feed them every morning and change the water in the bowl every weekend.
Then Hachiko arrived. We had to eliminate other names from our long list–Curry (because that night I cooked curry for my baby, Fynn because of his beautiful fins, Peacock, Cock, Alabama, some other odd-sounding suggestions, then finally, Hachiko). He is named after that faithful Akita dog who waited 9 years for the coming of his master in front of the Shibuya station in Japan.
My first glimpse of Hachiko was his beautiful fins fluttering in the water inside a fragile glass that was wrapped in newspaper and plastic bag under the bathroom sink. I peeked inside but acted like I did not see anything so I would not spoil my Baby’s surprise.
I had to sneak him to my unit because my condo prohibits its tenants from having pets. A week ago, while moving his tank, I accidentally broke it, so I had to temporarily place him in a plastic pail in the bathroom while I rushed to a hardware to buy a glass tank but ended up in the grocery and bought a transparent cookie jar instead.
The first thing I do in the morning before I start with my morning rush it to check my Hachiko and feed him with flakes (not anymore the green-and-red pellets) that promise to give him brilliant scales and lush fins.
Hachiko has given me something to look forward to after a tiring day. And something to remind me that he’s from somebody whom I love so much and who loves me back as much.