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Fishy Normalcy

Animal Adcive Article

Orange fish

        Dawn-kissed goldfish flit about their hallowed bowl, drifting between green-plumaged stems. They bite the world ravenously as though possessed, reminiscent of the way my fingers trace a path to my mouth, lips draped in boredom. My own stomach taunts, shrunken from early-morning hunger, and I wonder if theirs have ever rattled them whole.

        Breaths bubble to the surface, popping in silence. Their silky fins overlap, and I remember the fried fish I had for lunch yesterday: long, soft-scaled and still.

        Another fish shares its space within their community: larger and uglier. Aptly named The Sucker, its sole duty is to suck out the waste left by its careless neighbors. Face squished to the glass wall, fins dancing mindlessly; it fulfills its role in silent solace—trash duty by natural selection. Preserving its energy by moving only in short, electric bursts; facing dull disregard by familiar faces just the same.

        It gazes at me with blank, glassy fish-eyes, and I am cut with jagged unease. At times, I press my palm to the cool curves of its prisonly home, sending pulses of warmth fluttering through still walls. Wary of the new addition, the finned residents spin nervously before embracing me. The Sucker continues its stoned haze at the bottom of the plants, alone and untouched—a new normal is shaped.

Aditi Nair is a writer shaped by the nomads of UAE and the folklores of India, waiting to be let loose into university life any day now. Mythologies and fantasies find home in her words, along with a nineteen years (and counting) passion for chocolates. If she isn't hunching over her laptop, you can find her staring into the distance and mourning the commonality of her name.

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