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I do not have a photo of the actual fish I’m going to discuss, so a stock photo must suffice.
This happened in late spring or summer when I was a child. My family lived in a house whose backyard sloped down into the shore of a lake back then.
I was walking by the water when I noticed a fish swimming oddly close to the shore and to the surface of the water.
While I didn’t see any visible injuries on it, the poor little fish looked like it needed help. It wasn’t swimming as quickly and confidently as fish normally do. It looked wobbly and uncertain.
I built a little pen of rocks around it to protect it from any larger creatures that might hurt it. The pen was not terribly big, just tall enough to give it a safe spot in the water to rest.
Then I went to the house to see if one of my parents could help him or her.
When I returned, the fish was gone.
It’s impossible to know for sure what happened to it, but I choose to believe that moment of rest somehow helped and that it had a long and happy life after that afternoon.
I did not know it long enough to pick a name, but I bonded enough with it during the brief time we knew each other for me to remember it all of these years later.
It was a nice little fish, and I did everything I could to help it.