I am talking to my goldfish.


Photo: Lily sitting in the dark.


I have been babysitting, well–fishsitting– for a fish that one of my children won at a fair eight years ago. Eight years. So, Fishie (not his real name, just my nickname for him) and I are well acquainted and of course he is well cared for. I spent yesterday evening scrubbing his abode and replenishing it with aged and de-chlorinated fresh water.

I don’t talk to Fishie as in telling him about my day or pouring out my woes. I just say things like, “I’m going to feed you Fishie, don’t worry,” when he comes to the side of the glass to greet me, or I wave with my index finger and say, “How are you doing, Fishie?”


It occurred to me last night that he is the only living being I talk to some days with whom I have any acquaintance, and that I actually felt happy to see *A Fish* when I came home last night.

Last night I went to the grocery store. I needed groceries. I bought nothing.  Why? Because, as serendipity would happen (as you regular readers know), I walked into the store and directly into the man I had been (past tense) dating on and off for a year. He was overjoyed to see me. He told me that he Cared about me. (Cared? Two days ago it was Adored and Love You So Much. But, upon reflection, maybe Care was actually a progression of thought as his idea of  love didn’t exhibit much of the caring that should go along with actual love. He should have Cared.)

“Do you want to shop with me?” he asked.

No. Thank you.

“You know I care about you,” he said.

I paused. “Your words say so.”

“And I show it too,” he replied.

I raised my eyebrows.

“Sometimes!” he amended. “Sometimes I show it!”

Heh. Give him a medal for the sometimes.

I nodded and smiled.

I wondered if he’d think about what he had just said.

I left feeling very wistful, at first because I had wasted so much time on someone who would never really be able to love me. I had given him–us–so many chances, and listened to so many pleas for forgiveness and second chances. And twentieth and thirty-fifth chances. I was sad because we had such fun times, given our many common interests.

There must be a lesson: the place that your heart, mind, spirit, and soul are in is more important than any interests or worldliness.  I realize that I had more or less outgrown him, grew strong enough to move away from his selfishness.

But, my strength has left a gaping hole in my social life. An affectionate, loving, giving person needs someone to love, or wants someone. Life feels so much better with companionship: sharing good times and sad, conversations and laughter, walks and dinners and hugs.

I suppose this sense of loss was compounded because I waited until my children were grown and doing well on their own before getting a divorce, so I had empty-nest syndrome on top of divorce guilt and upheaval. I *should* be used to Alone from my marriage. One of the reasons I decided not to endure that forever was so that I could Perhaps find love someday…

Not too much of a romantic idealist, am I??

All around me I read of strong, beautiful, giving, intelligent and amazing women who are Single. Why??? OK, some may be happy as they are, and we always have God to talk to (or at least I do) and then there is Fishie… and I have friends, neighbors, colleagues, and relatives. It may seem as if there are a lot of people in my life, but they all have significant others. All of them. Where are the good men? Or, let’s back up a bit: where are the single men? Good, loving, caring, single men?

Do I sound anxious? Over zealous or overwrought? Hmm, tone is difficult to discern sometimes. I am happy, busy, healthy, into my hobbies and my community and busy with my life. But, I did wait a long time–decades–to be single. I am about as patient and contained as humanly possible, or was. All I did recently was to (finally and with finality) remove one undeserving self-serving guy from my life and now I feel at such loose ends: do I move? Do I stay? Do I  just keep keeping on, going to films and concerts by myself? Joining more groups, meet-ups, more volunteering? Having dinner with married friends?

Talking to goldfish?

This has been a vent. Thank you for listening.

Have a good weekend!

~ Lily


25 Comments on “I am talking to my goldfish.”

  1. You remind me of my mother. Parents waited to get divorced until my sister and I were out of the house. My mom just moved away so she could start a fresh new life without being under the shadow of my dad and the divorce. I will tell you what I tell my own mom: remember you are a strong, beautiful woman. You raised two daughters. Now it is your time to live. Hold your head up high, and go enjoy whatever life has to offer you.

    • lily says:

      Thank you for listening to my vent, Suburbia.
      Your mother? I hope you are young : ) I’m young. (Of course, it is all relative!)
      I like what you told your mom. She must have felt good to have your support. So did she go out and really live and have a happily-ever-after rest of her life?

      Thank you for the pep talk!

      ~ Lily

  2. I love it! You have written about something which really is truth in many women’s lives. There aren’t enough men who appreciate a strong, woman who can handle life. Your fishie is lucky. I feel lucky you wrote this. I will be back.

    • lily says:

      Thank you, Barbara! I like your strength. I can feel it in your writing.
      Yes, my lucky little cared for Goldfish! I do think there must be some men who would wish to be so lucky, don’t you? Well, I will probably serendipitously trip over one, one of these days. One can hope.
      Happy weekend!

      ~ Lily

  3. You really are strong and beautiful and you deserve the best so don’t settle for second best. There are some loving, thoughtful, caring guys out there so be patient and you will find the right guy for you. But remember that sometimes a spouse can be so busy that he doesn’t talk much either. On those days I talk to my dog. Dogs and goldfish can be quite good company, do you suppose it is because they don’t talk back? Have a beautiful weekend!

    • lily says:

      Thank you for listening and for your kindness, Joy. Aw, I know pets can be good company but I so love conversation. : ) All good things in time, I suppose.
      I must be even more patient… ’tis difficult, at times!

      Thank you for the weekend wishes~ I wish you a wonderful one, too!

      ~ Lily

  4. free penny press says:

    Ok lets share sister..I know exactly what you are feeling as I too have gone through those emtions.. Divorce, wrecked self esteem, kids flying away..Not sure if you work or not but i do and even though I was around folks all day, at night it was lonely.. Volunteer, Lily.. you are a beautiful soul and I know there is someplace in youtr town you will feel comfortable sharing of yourself. The more we give selflesslym, the more we recieve..It’s just how the universe is created..
    as for “him”.. been there done that too.. I refuse to spend one iota on energy on trying/hoping someone will change.. I’m too old to be a teacher.. so with that said, head up, heart open and get out there..The world is wating for Lily !!!

    • lily says:

      Yep, I do volunteer, and a lot. I contemplate whether to do *more* because there is always more to do in this world and you can’t help but feel rich in many ways when volunteering.
      Otherwise, I know, I know. I do know, but it is still difficult. : ) I am pretty good at navigating the world alone, but sheesh, it is nice to have company.
      ~ Lily

      • lily says:

        It is interesting how the more selflessly we give The Universe the more we get back, yet the more we selflessly give to…some men… the more they take, and the more stupid things we have to take from them. Why Is That?? : )
        You are right about this. It took me a while to see this–hopeful person that I am– to see that this would not change. Unfortunately.

      • free penny press says:

        I agree.. and when I move to New Orleans I have to meet all new people again..Geesh is right:-)

        • lily says:

          Yes, that is what I have been doing. New place, new people. Still have family and friends via phone and internet, but still it is hard. It seems tougher when standing still and thinking; being busy definitely helps. Some of my pursuits are very solitary, good for reflection and creativity but lonely sometimes. You will be out in the street with your ‘zine though, right? And hopefully you will find a pal (at least) to go out with for the great music and food in New Orleans. Those will be awesome, definitely treats to look forward to. You will have to treat yourself starting day one! It is exciting!

          ~ Lily

  5. one good single man? you haven’t met me- obviously. 🙂

    • lily says:

      That is true, and: I know next to nothing about you other than that you can write. And you may be Irish. I do hope you are not truly lost. If you care to send over your dossier, my email address is on my About page.

      Have a wonderful weekend, tlkm. Thank you for stopping by and reading my tales of woe (and happiness, oftentimes : )

      ~ Lily

      • I am not truly lost…I actually enjoy the character image of the lost Kerryman, wandering about in this world. My family is from Kerry- in Ireland- and sometimes I think I am more Irish than American, although I was born in the states. As far as “a good single man,” I am having trouble finding a “good single woman” myself, and am no longer a young one

  6. janinevasta says:

    You sound so strong Lily. I loved it when I heard you say you’d outgrown him. And you have!!! I know it’s lonely. I can’t imagine not having a soul mate although they are over the other side of the world and far far away. The lonely, on my own stuff I cope with – all too well I’m afraid – but perhaps only because my heart is spoken for. I’m being cryptic and this isn’t the place 😉 but I know you’re an expert gleaner my friend. Travel, relax, stop thinking too much, play to your strengths, do what you feel. Be your beautiful self and live free. xx

    • lily says:

      The next best thing to being happy in love is to have those we care about happy, and in love. Not much makes me happier. Thank you for making my day in your own inimitable way.
      Wishing you all good things, and especially that those you care about treat you with T.L.C. and appreciate what a treasure you truly are.

      ~ Lily

  7. Thank you for sharing your story Lily. It takes a lot of strength to walk away from a shitty relationship, I know. I commend you and admire you. I keep walking away but mine’s sort of like a boomerang.
    I too have goldfish from the fair, four, and some go back several years as well. They are so excited to see me every time I walk into the kitchen, and my little tiny dog we recently rescued, she is always there for me; men, not so much :/
    Even though I have been in the depths of hell in the name of love, I am absolutely sure that there is a perfect someone out there for everyone and it’s just a matter of being ready. He will come ❤

    • lily says:

      I’m so sorry about your crummy relationship. The depths of hell? Egads. I sure hope you are not still there. I know exactly what you mean about the boomerang effect and it is no fun. I think I kept going back because a kind heart can forgive, and an optimistic person thinks things might get better. How I hope you are right about being ready. : )
      Onward: to better, brighter, joyful days. (That is what I wish for you.)

      ~ Lily

  8. And a lovely vent it was, Lily! No sniping, just looking at things through the ‘real eyes’…great to know you continue to heal!

  9. lily says:

    I would make a crummy sniper, certainly. I guess I am healing.
    Thank you for checking in!
    I hope you are having a happy weekend,
    ~ Lily

  10. Hi, Lily.
    First of all, bravo for realizing that he is not capable of meeting your needs. Not only did you care for and protect yourself, but your actions validated your needs as real and worthy of care.

    I can feel the earnestness of your longing through your “vent”, and I sympathize. However, that longing is exactly what will keep away the sort of man you require. It’s an odd paradox, I’ve found, but a consistent one. What is needed here is joy. Joy in you attracts exactly what you need in life. Your joy is your future man’s roadmap to finding you, and it needs to be inked boldly.

    I didn’t find my Richard until I was 30. Before meeting him i had gone parttime at my professional IT job in order to pursue an English degree with the hope of becoming a fulltime writer. I meditated. I spent hours and hours in absolutely content company with myself. I was free to imagine any possibility around the next curve. I had just recently made the decision that I was having so much fun that I would be happily single for the rest of my life when wham! Wasn’t that exactly when Richard came into the picture and we dropped for each other like stones. He fulfills all of my needs along with a couple I didn’t even knew I had. There are good single guys out there. They have recognized their own needs as well, however, and search for that woman who values and respects herself, and nurtures her needs until those needs resonate as joy. Then a man will not be stopped from being “found” by such a catch!!

  11. lily says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story; it is beautiful and inspirational. I feel so happy for you and Richard! And, you are absolutely right about Joy.

    Because I use this place as somewhere to put my feelings, a lot of my vents, fears, and pains end up “on paper” but I am a joyful person, absolutely. That is my nature. I wake up happy every day, no matter what. I am also optimistic and hopeful. However, I spent Decades in a lonely marriage, single parenting for years at a time. I knew that single was Not how I wanted or was meant to be, even though I am by now pretty good at it. I go to films and concerts, by myself. I go to dinner with my married friends. I spend hours walking and finding comfort in Nature and cheer in the people I meet. Much of my days are occupied by solitary and creative pursuits and I am quite content when lost in them. It was a very very difficult thing (for me) to get out of my marriage and I am sure that I have some battle scars, but as they say, that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger… so I am strong. I also (and this is up your alley) have a very healthy lifestyle, eating well and working out. I take good care of myself, and those I love.

    I used to be so contained, kept so much inside: all my feelings, all my pain. It feels so much better to let some of that fly away, in little posts most every day. The down side would be if that is all that people see, so your caution to let the Joy show is taken to heart. Thank you so much for that reminder. Also, I am a rather subtle, poised, understated person (in person), so maybe my joy does need to be “inked (more) boldly”. (Love that phrase: “inked boldly”! May I borrow it?)
    Just as important: thank you for your wonderful story of Love. It is a joy to read, and reaffirms the hope in my heart. Inspiration is a fine thing to give to another.

    Wishing you continued love and happiness, down on the farm,

    With many thanks,
    ~ Lily

  12. No harm in venting… sometimes it really helps.
    Someday, somewhere, you’ll meet him Lily…

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