My Unforgettable Childhood Pets

One day, my mother bought a gold fish and plopped it in the newly acquired rectangular fish tank. In the passage, there was also a mermaid waterfall. My sister and I, 11 and 7 years old then, were simply fascinated. We never had pets before!

Mom specifically told us to feed them only three times a day and to always turn on the water filter. Well we didn’t really listen to the instructions given. When you consider the Star Wars action figure being dumped into the tank, overfeeding, and the swamp grew out of the tank, fish died. We had a funeral of the dead fish afterwards.

It was brief. It went down the whirlpool and descended into the land of Hades (aka poo and pee). Not long after, Mom replaced the fishes and we got two goldfish. One was a weird bulky black looking one which my Mom lovingly nicknamed ‘Blacky’. Mom loved the black fish so much and often over fed it. For some reason, Blacky just kept growing. I nicknamed it ‘Moby Blick’ because it was black and big. The damn thing swam like Moby Dick’s baby! Well what followed was ‘Blacky’ almost dying from a fungal infection that spread on his head.

Personally, I think it was an assassination plot hatched by the two goldfish. However, Mom said I’m a conspiracy theorist. ‘Blacky’ lived to fight another day but he did more than fight for his life, he fought for the lives of the other fishes too. We would walk past the fish tank and sis would say, “Why is that fish trying to do the back stroke?” Only to discover it was a murder scene.

My sis and I were a dynamic duo- Sherlock and Watson, a brilliant team-CSI eat your heart out! We both came to the same conclusion. ‘Blacky’ was a murderer! Mom had none of it, obviously. Not long after that, ‘Blacky’ died. We never did find out what caused it. Personally, I think ‘Blacky’ overheard dad threatening to fry Mom’s pet fish when she went out it died out of sheer fright but again-conspiracy theories. After that we got a rabbit. I was 22 and my sis was 14. Well my Mom and sister did anyway, I didn’t. I didn’t have anything against rabbits. I just didn’t think it would be wise to have a rabbit in a flat on the THIRD FLOOR! I mean the poor thing was living in a carpet jungle when it was in our house.

My sis thought it was just adorable. My Mom said it had devil eyes because of the red pigmentation of its pupils. I told her it was one of her “conspiracy theories.” She frowned at me. Mom threw a huge birthday bash for my little brother (don’t think I mentioned I had a little munchkin as a brother) and my sisters’ two friends who to my surprise and annoyance had pet rabbits too (rabbits were in fashion at this point in time). All went to play in the allotments downstairs. Cutting a very long story short, we found one rabbit. I don’t think the other two wanted to be found. Their trail of love was evident in the half eaten carrots in the other allotments which didn’t sit well with their owners. Yeah, my sis got rid of the rabbit.

It was sad. I was getting used to telling my lecturers that my papers were eaten by our hungry feral rabbit or that it had swallowed my USB. Then Mom picked up a stray cat. It was lazy, skinny, and was just “there”. Mom would go out every morning to do cat stuff.

She tried luring it back home by bribing it with food but failed. It was a street cat and to the street it belonged. Personally, I think it reminded Mom of her childhood days but that’s neither here nor there. We then had a blind man stay with us for a week. (This really happened) Oh wait, he isn’t a pet! I couldn’t tell sometimes the way Mom treated this guy. To be fair, even my sis and I were a little jealous. Yeah, the blind man left and the good deed was done.

Then Mom got another fish again. Two goldfish, a husband and wife by the looks of it. Mom put them in the tank but moved them and put them in a giant wine glass as a water feature in the kitchen. Mr. and Mrs. Fish are currently living in the wine glass and are happily married with no children. I’ve named them John and Travolta because they go together.

Kingsley Olaleye Reuben
Kingsley Olaleye Reuben is an author who writes scripts, prose, poetry, and plays, journalistic stories and interviews, manages two blogs and is currently studying for a masters at Roehampton University, and working on his next book.You can contact Kingsley (also known as "The Bard") by email [email protected] or through NewsBlaze.