My son's goldfish that did not have a name other than "that goldfish" died this morning. That goldfish was his first poke in the ribs from that pointing skeletal hand called mortality. Ask not for whom the toilet flushes, or for whom the bell tolls. "Why do things have to end, Mom?"
I came up with the simile, "Life is like a song, son," which I knew was lame even as I was saying it."You know Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People that you like so much? It has a beginning, a middle -- some people call that the bridge -- and an end; it wouldn't be a song if it didn't have an end."
"That is so stupid."
He started to cry. I felt like crying to, the impotent parental tears that I cry when I cannot for the life of me come up with a good answer to a child under ten's brilliant questions like, why do some crabs move sideways and other crabs move forwards and backwards, or we eat shrimp but don't turn pink, but flamingos do? Why?
So I said that I didn't know, and we sat together in the garden, watching the bees in the foxgloves and after awhile he stopped crying and pulled himself together and said very solemnly, "I wish I had named that goldfish Steve."