Monday, April 5, 2010

Maxamillion Vamos

As the child of divorced parents I was often confronted with differing opinions on many aspects of life. One of which was pets. Sure they both agreed that having a pet was an all together bad idea, but they differed in their reasons. Mum, the voice of kindness and practicality said due to the size of our apartment and frequent absence it would be cruel, Dad with more bluntness and less tact said he hated animals and if we ever got one he'd shoot it - yes we were aware that he neither owned or had ever owned a gun but the look in his eyes was enough to make us not want to risk it.

We thus (after considerable pleading) resolved to have a farm full of animals when we were older and that would solve the matter. However, one sunny day - a day I happened to turn 8 years old, I got a surprise. I had already set about mingling with family and thanking people for gifts when my cousin came bounding through the door and thrust a card in my hands - HAPPY BIRTHDAY she said with glee and a twinkle in her eye, "THATS YOUR PRESENT" I looked down at the card in my hand - It was a very nice card, heavy stock paper, delicate writing and a colorful embossed illustration of a fish on the front. Although I was slightly disappointed with the expense spared, I had been raised well and swallowing my disappointed smiled kindly commenting that it was one of the nicest cards I'd ever got and would put it where everyone could see it.
Then, out the corner of my eye I noticed my uncle walking through the door with a petite round bowl and colourful pebbles in hand, my heart stopped, surely this wasn't real - but there, following closely behind was my aunty, moving slowing and delicately with a small plastic bag containing what I could just make out as a tiny gold fish swimming round in circles. My eyes popped out of my head. I looked at my dad, a stern tight smile on his lips, my stepmum, her eyes worried, my sister glaring with jealousy - it didn't matter, it had been done, the impossible had occurred - I finally had a pet of my very own!

Worried for his safety I decided to take him to mums, who after a small protest that the givers weren't even her family agreed. Over the next two weeks Maxamillion and I bonded - (an ironically large name considering his size) I tried to take him everywhere, we ate together, read stories, I fed him and looked on as mum cleaned the bowl.
In fact, if you ignored the calls from dad I got every two days inquiring if he was dead yet, life was utter bliss... then one day as his second week drew to a close I noticed him swimming a little slowly, worried I asked mum, who assured me he'd be fine. Unfortunately I had to visit dads for a couple of days - I worried about leaving him but knew it would be more risky to bring him to the suspected pet killer so I left him in mums capable hands.

After two days I returned home, dropping my bag at the door I ran to the bowl - it was worse than I thought - there was Max.. lying upside down on the surface, at first I thought it may be a new trick, shaking I prodded him gently with my finger. Nothing. I bit my lip and tried again... he bobbed gently with the ripples of water.... there was nothing I could do... Max, my best friend, the only pet I'd ever owned was dead.

I decided I'd be grown up about the matter and not show mum that at that moment I felt like curling into a ball and crying till the end of eternity... instead I carefully scooped him out, wrapped him in tinfoil and buried him in the garden, crossing my fingers that our neighbors cat wouldn't find him and have him as an after dinner snack. I assured mum I was ok and feeling bad she left to get something nice for dinner... it was then my sister made the attack and looking at me suspiciously pronounced - "your really sad aren't you - your going to cry right" I looked at her with shock, then nodding slowly fell against the wall and sank down with sobs racking my body. She sat next to me and hugged me tightly.

We never got any more pets after Max, I think in a way I was glad, I don't think I could cope if I had another one die on me... instead I lived vicariously through my friends - who had plenty of pets to share, knowing as well that no matter what, no pet could replace Max.


  1. Awww....I know this story, I had a little hamster for a while too when I was little, and that was the first and last pet I had. :( Although when my sister and I moved to Los Angeles, my parents got a puppy! They were always so adamant against never having pets...I guess not having kids around, they got a bit bored, haha!

  2. Yeah my dad caved and bought my little sister a rabbit - I'm still in shock, they must mellow in their old age ^_^

  3. awww... I lived completely opposite to what you've experienced. My house is a zoo. Every family members have their own particular animal they are passionate about.

    It's true though that Max won't be able to be replaced by any other pet.. But, the joy of having pets comes from the fact how human they made you feel (I have 5 right now. One just died of old age :( last week ).

    I hope someday you'll be open to have another pet. Like a dog or cat? :)

  4. That sound like my best friends house at the time - I think (including her sea monkeys) she had about 107 - cats, dog, chicken, fish, hamsters she had the lot

    Sorry about your pet - I'm sure they led a good life ^_^

    Maybe when I have my own house, I'm allergic to cats but a dog might be nice - then again I've always fancied a miniature pig ^_^

  5. Sweet sad story. You should get a fish now, in honor of Maximillion!

  6. I was actually thinking about doing that when I get back home to Australia - I'll have to investigate different fish though - ones that survive a little longer ^_^

  7. very nice, when are you going to do a book?

  8. So sad...

    Haven't been in the same situation myself (never had a pet, never really ever wanted one), but I totally feel for you!

    Awesome illustrations btw. ;)

  9. leon: doing three at the moment, its a slow process though.. :)

    Ant: thanks!

  10. ooooo, very nice, cannot wait to see them, are they Art of Books, or children s books or a personal comic? Oh I always forget that people respond to questions on the same post, I have not figured that out yet