Taylor was going on a field trip to an aquarium. She was in high school. She was a brunette with dark eyes. She was more excited for the prospect of a field trip than the aquarium itself.
Taylor was walking along the aquarium exhibits when she found one that was most crowded by people. She wondered why it was so. When Taylor got there, she saw that a human was inside. The aquarium was without water.
She asked the tour person, “Why is a human in the exhibit?”
“That isn’t a person. This is a fish who appears human. He has the ability to breathe underwater. We’re not exactly sure about this kind yet. We’re still researching. There are a few who have been caught like him.”
Taylor told her friend nearby, “He’s cute.”
He was. He had dark eyes and dark brown hair. He was tall also. They dressed him as a human in jeans and a t-shirt. He appeared to be older than her, though.
Her friend looked at her and rolled her eyes, “Taylor, you’re talking about a fish.”
Taylor said “Hi” to the guy. He looked at her bizarrely as if that didn’t happen often.
Driving back home from the exhibit, Taylor decided to herself that it had been a good visit. She thought about telling her parents about the exhibit. She decided, though, that they might have the reaction that her friend did. So she kept it to her diary.
Taylor admitted that she had a crush on a fish.
She wrote in her diary, “He may be a fish but I swear that he is human, as well. I’m going again after school. Hopefully the place is less busy than it was during the day.”
Taylor played clarinet in the school. She had marching band after school. She figured that she could skip a day and she would be fine.
After school she took a city bus. It was crowded but she told herself it was worth it.
She was right. When Taylor went to the exhibit there were hardly any people about. She went right up to the exhibit. The guy was just there, looking bored.
She waved her hand and said, “Hi. Do you remember me?”
“Are you the girl who said hi to me yesterday?”
“You’re a strange one.”
“What’s your name?”
“I don’t have a name.”
“You don’t have a name. That’s just odd. I’ll call you Jack.”
He rolled his eyes.
“So do people stare at you all day long?”
“Pretty much. But very few people communicate.”
“I consider that to be odd. I mean, you look like a person.”
“Trust me, I’m not.”
“So you’re a fish. What do you eat?”
After she said that, she realized she shouldn’t have. He could say that to many of the foods she ate.
She tried to correct herself, “But then that’s common for fishes. It must be weird to be an exhibit.”
“I hear there are others like you all over the world. They haven’t even come up with a name for you yet.”
“Do you wish they would fill your tank up with water?”
“It doesn’t really matter to me.”
“To be able to breathe underwater. Wow. I’d probably be top of the swimming team. I’m a lousy swimmer, though.”
She stood there looking around at how empty the place was, “Is the place like this after 3? I mean, is it pretty desolate?”
“Good. I might come again if you would enjoy the company.”
He didn’t say anything. Taylor decided that that meant he wasn’t sure about this yet.
Taylor did go to band the rest of the week. But the next week she found herself going on the city bus again.
She ended up going to the aquarium again.
She found him. This time he was sleeping. She felt unsure. Would it be rude to wake him?
“Hi,” she shouted.
She had to say it two more times before he awoke.
He didn’t look upset when he saw her. It made Taylor think it was ok.
He looked up at her.
The fish said, “You never did tell me your name.”
“What age are you, Taylor?”
“Don’t you have something better to do than to visit me? A pretty girl like you should have things lined up.”
“No. I just have band and homework. I don’t think it would hurt too much to miss a couple of sessions.”
“What kind of band is it?”
“It’s a marching band. I play clarinet.”
“Do they let you read? I mean, what do you have to do here?”
“Nothing. All I have to look forward to is my meals.”
“No reading. It’s too bad I can’t give you things through the glass. I’d give you a TV, then give you a couple of books.”
“They don’t see me as a person. I don’t need to be entertained.”
“Well, I wish we could play a game of chess or something. You would probably win.”
“I don’t think they want us to interact.”
“They don’t want to think of me as human.”
“Well, you are and you aren’t. Just what did you do in the ocean?”
“I had others of my kind.”
“Did you have school?”
“Yes, but that was years ago.”
“So you were working?”
“That’s awful. I mean, you even work down there.”
“Work is unavoidable.”
“I’m glad I can avoid it at least for a couple of more years.”
“Then what will you do?”
“I can’t think that far ahead,” she smiled.
It turn out that he was a construction worker of sorts in the ocean.
“What do you build?”
“It’s sort of hard to describe.”
It turned out he was single. She was glad to hear that part.
“Are there people that you miss?”
“Sure. But I doubt I’ll see them again.”
“You could meet them in another exhibit.”
“Why would there be more than one exhibit in a place?”
She shrugged her shoulders, “I don’t know.”
When Taylor was getting ready to leave the guy asked her to come around again. She was happy about that.
When Taylor told her friend at school about her visits to the aquarium her friend looked at her strangely.
“So that’s where you’ve been during band. Taylor, he’s a fish. Get that into your head. What kind of future can you have with him? There are plenty of boys around this school. Look.”
Taylor looked around her. She didn’t like what she saw.
“I’d rather talk to the fish.”
“What can you talk about? You’re different creatures.”
“We find things to talk about.”
“I’d just wish you would stick to being normal.”
Taylor didn’t like her friend’s tone.
She ended up not speaking to her for the rest of the hour.
Taylor had nothing better to do so she decided to go on a Saturday to the aquarium. But when she got there, she saw that he was gone.
“What happened to him?” She asked a worker.
“He was moved to another museum. Don’t worry; we’re getting another one in next week. This one is a female.”
Taylor was disappointed.
Taylor was depressed and ended up watching television for the rest of the day.
At 6, her mother joined her on the couch and asked her to turn to the news.
Taylor sighed and turned.
There was a pregnant woman being featured.
“Sources have confirmed that the child’s father was one of the human fish in one of the recent traveling human fish exhibits.”
Her mother looked at the television and said, “That is just disgusting.”
Taylor was quiet in the back.