For over 20 years we’ve had aquariums in our home. At one time they were the focal point of our apartment and our life as a married couple. Many was the Friday or Saturday night we’d sit on the floor like young couples do looking at the tanks and talking. It was a romantic and wonderful experience.
We learned a lot about those tanks, helped out a friend in his aquarium store and became even more expert. In the early nineties we bought our house. We hired a carpenter to come in and build custom racks for the tanks in the basement. Power was wired in and the final thing moved from the apartment came in buckets of water.
Time went by and going down to our unheated basement wasn’t much fun. We kept the tanks going for a time, but when my wife became ill it was overwhelming. I kept the fish alive, but as they died off the tanks were decommissioned. Partly it was the cold basement, partly the time taking care of her, partly the new dog who lived with us upstairs.
The tanks have sat empty now for about fifteen years. Stuff got piled on the racks, it became a ditch zone for things we didn’t know what to do with at the moment. A few weeks ago my wife started to clean up the basement. Now, about 5 trash cans later and several trips to Goodwill, we’ve made some great progress.
This morning the tanks went out the door. I have a coworker who is part of a large reptile society and he graciously took the tanks off my hands. Some lucky iguana fans will have a nice big home for their friends next week at the monthly meeting. Three really big tanks, two smaller ones (still big, around 20 gallons.)
A part of my heart went with those tanks. A part of my life before illness grew larger than Friday night. A piece of my soul that was calmed by the motion of the bubbles and the fish swimming back and forth.
Now we move on. The racks will be used for something, likely storage for all the things that just don’t fit somewhere else but you don’t want to chuck because you do use them from time to time.
I wish it was 1991 again, on a snowy Friday night with my wife. I miss those days.