The Last Breath

The fishes arrived from a friend. I cleaned the first three — only one was left. As I picked the last one (it was big), I could see it was still breathing. 

It’s’ mouth hung open. It gasped for breath. I had never seen (before that) a breathing fish at close quarters. I was a bit frightened, and didn’t know what to do? I couldn’t cut into a living creature while it was still breathing. I left it on the kitchen counter, and left to get on with the other tasks for the day.

I came back to the kitchen after a gap of three hours, thinking by now the fish must have conked off. It wasn’t so — it was still breathing. I felt an un-explained fear in my heart. I rang the bell for the help to come, and take it away.

For days I was haunted by the fish that wouldn’t die. What was keeping it alive? I don’t know. For a year, or so I couldn’t eat fish, and the ones I had cleaned that day — I sent them to a neighbor.


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