Georgie the Goldfish
Georgie spent her life in a bowl, like any other goldfish. She swam round and round and got fed multi coloured flakes twice a day, just like any other goldfish. Sometimes her human Tim would stare at her through the glass, and sometimes Tiger the cat would poke a paw over the top and tap the water. Georgie didn’t know what a cat was but she instinctively knew to move away when this happened. Meanwhile, Georgie swam and swam and swam.
Occasoinally she would come up against the glass and see things on the other side: colours, shapes, noises. She called her goldfish friends over and said to them, ‘hey, look, there’s something out there.’
‘I don’t see anything’ they said, and she wondered what was wrong with her, why she saw things that weren’t there. She swam and swam and swam, but the yearning started up in her. She didn’t know it, but she was bored. Bored of swimming round and round, bored and frustrated and claustrophobic. The pressure built up in her and she started doing little flips, launching herself clean out of the water. The other goldfish looked at her like she was crazy, but she didn’t care. She liked it, it felt good to move her body in a different way and to feel the cool air on her skin.
One day she went a little crazy for real. She leapt so far that she found herself on the carpet, writhing around, trying to catch her breath. She was terrified, she never realised she couldn’t live outside of the little bowl. She saw Tiger the cat stalking towards her and she was truly petrified, and completely helpless. She began to realise that she couldn’t even move outside of the little bowl. She didn’t know what to do, and realised how stupid she had been.
And then, quick as a flash, she saw Tim racing towards her and she was back in the water. The relief was huge, she was so so grateful. She swore never to do anything so stupid again, she swore she would appreciate everything she had, every single day. She joined in with the other goldfish, playing chase the tail and ‘what time would the flakes arrive today’?
But it didn’t last. She missed the flipping, she was feeling confined and claustrophobic. She took to staring at the outside through the glass, her face pressed up close, seeing things she couldn’t understand and that only she could see.
After a while she felt such a heaviness in her heart that she sank to the bottom and just stayed there. She saw her human Tim staring at her but she didn’t care. The others tried to cheer her up, but she wasn’t in the mood. She didn’t even bother stirring herself when the flakes arrived. She swam very very little, there didn’t seem much point.
One day a loud noise startled her.
‘Stupid fish, I don’t want a fish that won’t even swim’ she heard.
The next moment she was in a little plastic bag with barely enough water to breathe in. In a panic she swam from one side to the next. The space was so small, she wished she had appreciated the bowl, had tried more to make it work. She wished she had swum round and round like a normal goldfish.
Then it got even worse, she was being swished from side to side, barely able to catch her breath, and was starting to feel a little sea sick. She prayed for it to stop, and just when she thought she couldn’t bear it anymore, she felt herself sliding, and splosh! The next moment she was swimming freely. The water around her felt like heaven, so cool, so much space! So much room for one little gold fish! She was so excited that she swam and swam and swam. She was so happy that she thought she might swim forever, and STILL there was space! She came across some green weed and it smelt so delicious that she had a little nibble. OOh, it was good! At that moment she saw another HUGE goldfish, just like her but six times as big, actually WINKING at her. She wondered if she would ever get that big. But actually, it didn’t matter, because for the first time in a long long time, she felt home.