Four Days in September

Our time together was brief, but glorious. Sometimes the greatest love stories are the shortest, no less intense and true for their abbreviated lifespans.

This is one of those tales.

It was September of my freshman year in college. Oh, what a time of change and discovery and adventure.

On my own for the first time in my life, it seemed like the most natural time to find love and join my existence with another.

And then I found you.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I stumbled upon you in that little, innocuous pet store. I wasn’t even there for me. One of my floor-mates wanted a pet and I tagged along for the sake of an excursion. (A car-less freshman year makes you long for the adventure of even a five-mile car ride.)

And then I saw you, black and blue, looking like you had gone through some things in your brief life. I could tell there were stories and dreams lurking within your bulging fishy eyes.  Just like that, it happened… love at first sight, which I had never believed in before.

Logic flew out the window as my blue eyes met your inky black ones.

It wasn’t a question of wanting you. We had to be together. It was destiny.


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I brought you home, a three day guarantee in my pocket. Perhaps that should have been the first sign of trouble… who puts a three day guarantee on life? But I was in no shape to see the warning signs. I was in love.

So I brought you home with me, in all your bug-eyed, black and blue glory.  Unplanned as our meeting was, it felt so right.  You settled right in naturally, a happy little niche in my life.

But that three-day guarantee haunted me. I was, after all, scared of attachment. So I made the logical decision to keep you out of my heart for the three day minimum and hold off on bestowing a name on you.

Who am I kidding… I grew attached to your little fishy face. I tried to keep my distance and told everyone that you meant nothing to me.

Oh, the lies happily we tell ourselves to avoid harsh realities. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The dawn of day four of our romance dawned, as bright and glorious as the flashing of your scales in the sunrise. You had stayed with me. Our love was true and for real. I could finally say the words that had been threatening to burst from my lips for three days…

“Good morning…. Bruiser.”

Of course your name was Bruiser, I had known it from the start. But there was a lovely sense of security with you out of the woods, that “three-day” threat behind us. We had nothing but time now.

You were mine, I thought possessively, waving my goodbye (yes I totally waved at a fish) as I left for classes. I would see your beautiful fishy face in a couple hours and for years to come.

But fate is cruel.


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

How could I have possibly been prepared for the scene I walked into late that afternoon?

How could I have known my new found security and contentment, so recently acquired, was about to be snatched cruelly from me?

You probably know what is coming dear readers, but I was not so worldly yet.

I walked into my dorm room and instead of being welcomed by happy googly eyes saw a much different sight. The floating lifeless body of Bruiser, my dear and lovely Bruiser, was my harsh greeting late on day four of our life together.

Just like that, you were taken from me. Our love story was ended when it had barely begun.

I was crushed.

via: pinterest
via: pinterest

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

One day sooner and I could have brought home your second cousin or godfather or something as a replacement. (And I’m not saying that would have healed my broken heart.)  But no. You stayed with me just long enough to instill yourself into my heart and void your warranty. And then you left me.

There isn’t a warranty on feelings.

There isn’t a return policy for heartbreak.

To this day, I have never brought another fish into my life. 10+ years later and I still mourn your loss. The cruel irony of making it four days, not more and not less, has been too much for me to overcome.

But I am thankful for those four days. You taught me so much in a short time…

  • Like the fact that I shouldn’t be responsible for the well-being of living creatures. Ever.
  • And that betta are apparently easy to kill. For me, at least.
  • And that you should never buy a fish from a store that has a three-day life guarantee, cause that seems fishy (pun very intended.)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

This isn’t Bruiser. (We weren’t together long enough for me to even get any photos.)


But he looked quite a bit like this fishy.  In case you needed a visual, even though love is blind.

At least we had those four glorious days together in September.

For that, I thank you Bruiser.


3 thoughts on “Four Days in September

  1. Pet store’s are notorious for pets dying the day after their guarantee is void. I once had an albino King snake to die 15 days into having him. The guarantee was 14. Still I took him back. He was expensive. Petco refunded my money, and put all reptiles on hold barring veterinarian approval. Yay Petco?

    1. It certainly makes you wonder with these policies on how incredibly unhealthy pet stores are. I’m glad you made a stand with your King Snake… certainly more pricey than a fish.
      I realize now that I could have taken him back and they probably would have refunded or replaced him. But I was young and heartbroken. 🙂

      1. alas, your , I knew him . 😀 We’ve all been there, but I paid far too much for the critter and I was not happy, I’ve had it happen with all matter of animals from numerous pet shops, so… yea.. I wonder how sanitary their conditions are.

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