Coco is Dead. Long Live Coco.

I had been out of town for several days. My phone rang. It was Zaffron. She was crying.

“Coco is dead, Mommy! Coco is dead!”

“Oh, honey. I’m so sorry. Who’s Coco?”

“He’s one of the fish we bought for the new aquarium. There’s Zippity, and Sucker and Coco and… ”

She broke off into sobs. I waited, knowing the story would continue when she was ready.

“We found him this morning. He wasn’t moving so Daddy took him out and shook him. He still didn’t move. He’s dead, Mommy. Really really dead.”

Her wailing continued. When it turned to sniffles I said, “Oh baby. I’m so sorry. You know when I was a little girl I had a goldfish named Sprite. When he died, I got a new fish and named him Sprite Two. Maybe we could get a Coco Two.”

Silence. You know the kind. Stunned silence. The kind where you can tell the other person is actually stunned that you could say such a thing. It was only punctuated by a single hiccup. And then this:

“Mommy! How could you? Nobody can replace Coco!”

“Oh! Of course not, honey. I just meant –.”

“What? What did you say, Daddy?”

She paused and I heard my husband’s muffled voice in the background.

“Daddy says to tell you that I have only known Coco for less than 24 hours.”

“Ah, I see. But that doesn’t really help much, I guess.”

“No,” she said. “No, it certainly doesn’t.”

11 insightful thoughts by 11 brilliant people

    • Alexandra, we never did get Coco the second. He was replaced with flippity or zip pity or sugarpie or something. I can’t keep it straight. I can barely keep them alive! (The fish, I mean!)

      • Haha good you have cleared that out! ;)
        I figured she was too upset to have another Coco – what I meant was just another fish, not really a replacement :)

        • Zaffy claims she can tell the difference between them. They are microscopic, so I don’t know how she can do this. She’s also assigned each a personality. I think one of the fish may even have a backstory.

    • Oh gosh… we have two old cats. I’ve been trying to prepare Zaffy but… she tears up if I even bring up the subject. Not looking forward to that particular life lesson.

    • Nope. We’re giving away the tank. I can’t stand it. I can’t seem to get it to stay clean no matter what I do. I anticipate a very sad “goodbye” in Zaffron’s future.

  1. I remember when I lost my first gold fish and it was the same feeling I had. And more of it because it was gifted by my best friend. The moment I woke up in the morning and saw the fish bowl, the gold fish was floating and I felt really very bad. It was very kind of my friend to get me another pair and I couldn’t thank him more.

    • Jason – I hear ya. I remember very vividly losing my first goldfish. I had been playing in my room and spraying perfume all over the place. Several hours later I returned to my room to find my fish floating in the bowl. I was horrified. My dad took the bowl downstairs to his workroom and the next morning, returned it with my fish, swimming happily. I thought my father was magic. Turned out he had just changed the water. I had sprayed so much perfume around the fish bowl that I must have coated the top or something and deprived poor Sprite of some much needed oxygen.

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