Snow Koi

Marin stood on the edge of the bathtub, watching all the koi fish from above. They swam in circles and their shimmering bodies looked like giant foil-wrapped candies. There was a single orange fish left, out of the batch of four pumpkin-colored pretties her mother had ordered from the pet store; it’s scales had dulled when summer had cooled to autumn and autumn to early winter, but it still seemed lively—livelier than the rest, which kicked their fins every few minutes, gliding down the weak currents this created in the intervals. She wanted to tickle these fish out of their languor. The smooth spot where the fins joined to their bodies would be extra sensitive, she imagined.

She stayed this way, balancing on the ledge, for the afternoon, watching and waiting and feeling the water grow lukewarm, chilly, and then cold as she dipped in her toes.

By the time the sun began to set outside, leaving the picture window to frost over in the darkness, the koi were huddled above the stoppered drain, either clinging to any remaining particles of heat or hoping Marin would open the valve and let them go rushing down the pipes and into the creeks and tributaries and rivers and oceans that would take them back home.

Published at Goon and Darling Do Flash Fiction on June 26, 2012.

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