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When your teen is a goth

"Do we want this?" Jack asks me while holding a giant vintage Garfield fish tank above his head.

"UMMM HELL YES we want that! " I say back appalled that he even thought he needed to ask. Who says no to a Garfield anything? We find it a home on my desk, where I hoard a collection of toys and Japanese kawaii stationary. We buy two big fat orange goldfish to go inside, to match

the fat orange cat they now live in. We name them Susan and Ole Girl. They share warm waters and meals of pebbles happily in the depths of Garfield stomach for a while. We bought the undigested eaten fish fresh, live plants and shiny stones. Living the damn dream. From the disgusting pet store in Logan square to a Japanese hoard inside a famous stomach. The American dream. Rags to riches. Soon though the American dream does what it always dies.

Ole girl died suddenly. We found her floating on the top of the foul smelling tank water, resembling milk with the skin on the top. We documented her death in our Jesus notebook from the dollar store. We did this for all of our fish, it was our fish obituary journal. I scan the last page we had written on, the last documented death was Elegance. She literally disappeared at sea.

Susan was never the same. The whole tank went dark. Physically. I don' t know if the tank was too old or we didn't know how to clean it properly but either way it had dark green mold, the kind you see in pictures in The Hobbit, green moss and gem jaded hues. Black sludge formed in spaces I didn't even notice were there. That is when Susan herself changed. She was now Sharon. Our goth teen. She ate once in a while but she refused most things. Even the new plant we bought her turned brown in record time. Sharon hated us. she lived n her darkness until one day she too was found dead inside her hobbit goth lair that had become so black I couldn't even see through it. We added her obituary:

"Susan/ Sharon you taught us a lot about growing up and how to accept fish as they are. We now realize being goth is not a phase, it's a way of life. We will miss you."

Garfield has been empty ever since, two gold fish does not a lasagna make.

Death changes everything, and everyone. So during a time like this, when thousands of people are dying a day, let's not forget the living. Everyone surviving these times is bound for a change. Whether that is black eyeliner or new plants. We are all coming out of this a little different. Better. Sadder. Hungrier. Stronger. Darker... and for sure more grateful...for the waters we swim in are as blue as sapphires.

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