My mom is crazy, in a very lovable schizophrenic way, as discussed in my post “Dinner with My Schitzo Mom”. Because of this, sometimes I don’t know which actions of hers are due to illness or which are just general acts of oddity. The line often blurs and most of the time the things she does out of the norm are funny and are very much the type of thing I would do to get ‘the laugh’.
This is one story that sort of blurs the line.
My mom had a fish tank back when she lived in Buffalo. It was a small fish tank that was maybe two feet long and one foot wide. It stood just outside of the bathroom and for several years she kept a handful of various fish in it. I am pretty sure she got it because she once bought me a fish tank as a birthday present but my step mother would not allow me to put it up. She was full of strange rules like that that were terribly irksome to a ten year old. Why can’t I have a fish? It doesn’t even shed. Not that I am still burned up by it. I ‘m over it I promise.
Anyway, she had those fish for a few years, and then she bought an African frog, a spindly lanky green thing. She put Kermit in the tank and he immediately stuck his webbed hands onto the glass and looked at us with bulbous eyes that seemed to know exactly where he was…and he didn’t like it.
I swear, I saw his eyes narrow. He was biding his time.
One by one, the fish went missing. Oh we found pieces of them, sure, but we couldn’t be certain it was the frog that did it. Though he had a curious bulge in his belly, my mom wanted to think the best of Kermit. Eventually, it was just Kermit and the biggest fish originally in the tank.
And then it was just Kermit. And we knew.
My mom said, “That’s it. You’re an evil frog. You’re living in solitary confinement.”
Five years went by. My mom didn’t feed Kermit. She didn’t change the water. Kermit lived in a sickly swampy squalor. We never saw him. We didn’t see his bones float to the filter. We didn’t see him suck on the glass as he was wont to do. Nothing.
Finally, my mom decided that he must surely be dead. Plus I am pretty sure that fish tank of filth was a health hazard. She decided to clean it out. Low and behold, Kermit still lived. The little bastard had waited my mom out. She wasn’t even mad. It was quite impressive that he had survived his stint in frog jail.
“Well, you have served your time; I guess its okay that you have a friend. But it won’t be any more fish”, she said. She went out and bought another African frog and put him in the tank with Kermit so that he could have a pal.
But apparently living in solitary confinement for so long can make a frog soft. Within the month she found pieces of Kermit floating disassembled in the tank. My mom smiled. It was bitter sweet. His perseverance had won part of her over.
“It is a bit sad,” she said. “But really, it was justice, in the end”.