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Phil cup

No one knows what happened to “Phil’s Cup”…there are 3 plastic cups in the cupboard, but there used to be a 4th. A green, plastic cup. A green cup that, soon after Hubby and I were married, was used to house a beloved, dying pet…and then became a cruel joke. Let me start from the beginning…

Big Guy’s Christmas wish in 1996 was a pet goldfish. We gave him the tank and took him to the pet store in my parents’ hometown to pick it out. The owner of the pet store was named Phil. Phil travelled well, and once we were home in our small apartment, his tank was set up in the living room (which was also our – Hubby & I- bedroom). The motor for the filter often kept us awake at night…or woke us up! And cleaning was a disgusting job that fell to me. But it was worth it to see Big Guy come running from his room to say “good morning” to Phil.

Phil, like most goldfish, started to float and struggle for breath one day. Big Guy was heartbroken, and like most 6 year olds, needed Mom to try to save his friend. I didn’t lie to him, tell him everything would be okay, but I did agree to clean Phil’s tank to see if that would help. So I put Phil in the Green Cup so I could clean the tank…where he died later that evening.

The next pair of fish were named “Black” and “Decker”…they didn’t live very long either. It wasn’t long until I felt like I should be on a first name basis with the staff at the pet store, or worse, have my own coffee mug like Tim the Tool Man Taylor. “Two more gold feeder fish, please”. I felt my body tense every time Big Guy went near the tank. What if we had another “floater”?

For a few years after we lost Phil, I used to intentionally give Hubby Phil’s green cup when I set the table. Of course he noticed and would shoot me dirty looks (that’s what made it fun…). Like Stonehenge, Phil’s cup remains an unsolved mystery.

So. Many. Fish. Funerals. So many gut-wrenching tears. And then the tears subsided…Big Guy started to accept that fish only live a short while before heading to the ocean through our…ahem…ceramic portal. Eventually the tank was packed away and I swore I’d never have fish again. Thankfully, Little Guy has never asked. Big Guy moved on to the gerbils, Oscar and Felix…and a cat named Phoebe…and the hamster named Jack F.M….but those are sad stories for other days…