The Small Fish

It is funny how fishes never seem to remember how they got to be who they are, or to be where they are. So if I told you that this little fish, whose story I can’t wait to tell you, is exceptional because he forgot where he came from, or how he got to be himself, I would be telling you a lie.

He was, and still is, just a fish; a common little fish, swimming like millions of other fishes just being fishy and doing fishy things. You know what I mean. So let me tell you this little fish’s story.

Fish lived in a sea that looked to him like the largest pond in the world. The reefs seemed to go forever, though some of them had seen better days. But there was so much life even among the dead white reef. Fish could spend the whole day mesmerized by all the shapes, colors, shades and tones of his world.

Fish even liked the dead white reef no one cared about anymore. He thought they held secrets and mysteries, and even though some thought them ruins and nothing more, Fish perceived a majestic aura around them.

Fish also liked the other fishes in his sea. There were so many and they were so different. They had so many colors; blue, red, orange, yellow, green and blue, blue and red, you name it!

But the sea started to become too small for Fish. Every corner became familiar to him, perhaps too familiar. He remembered all the colors and shapes of the reefs. Fish had heard about other seas, much bigger and much more exciting. Fish dreamed of visiting those seas the turtles and whales always talk about.

He tried to find a way in, or was it a way out? But he just went in circles. His sea now felt more like a pond, a small inescapable pond.

Time does its thing to all. Fish spent his time doing his fishy daily things and trying to find a way in-out. One day, as he looked for a way out-in, he saw a crystal clear bottle laying on the bottom of the sea. There was something peculiar about it.  The bottle was shining radiantly, lighting up the sea floor.  Fish swam towards it. Sun light was making it shine. When Fish looked close into the bottle he saw his own reflection. He saw himself, big, beautiful,  glowing in sun light. He was a big fish, a star. Not a star fish, a Fish Star.

Fish felt good about himself, probably for the first time in a long time. Almost immediately he felt sad and angered. He was a big fish. Why was he destined to live in such a small sea that felt more like a pond? How could he truly be a fish star in this place?  Fish wanted to be big beyond size, and beyond his sea. Now he really needed to find a way out-in.

O.K. I didn’t tell you everything about Fish. He was actually a black tip reef shark, not small for a fish but certainly not the biggest fish in the ocean. In fact many dolphins were bigger than Fish! Fish didn’t care much about dolphins and their constant jumping. What were they trying to prove? Didn’t they have anything better to do, like escaping the small sea? Ugh, what was it with them?

One day Fish saw a really big fish. It was Humpback the old proud whale. Humpback was the biggest fish he had seen. And just like that Humpback jumped 40, 50 feet in the air.  “Wow” thought Fish, “I need to learn how to jump like that.”

Fish practiced his jumping day and night. The other fishes in the sea first thought Fish had gone mad. But Fish just ignored them and jumped nonstop. After a while Fish became a  prodigious jumper. And all the other fishes came to admire him. Even the dolphins and old Humpback were impressed by Fish’s jumps.

That wasn’t enough for Fish. Sure, he liked that finally the other fishes saw him for the Fish Star he had always been. But they knew no better, how could they tell?  He kept jumping. One night Fish was jumping by the edge of the reef. He jumped so high he felt like he was flying upwards and upwards and upwards. He could have touched the moon. Moonlight surrounded him. It seemed like he would never have to come down. But down he came and fast. He wasn’t scared. He was exhilarated.

Fish had jumped so high that when he came down he found himself in a different sea. It was the big sea he had been looking for. The big sea was flashy and exiting. Everything seemed to be new, bigger, better- even the other fishes. Fish was so happy. He had finally found the way out-in.

He wasted no time and started jumping. He jumped and jumped but no one seemed to care. Well, some cared. “Stop splashing,” “Get out of the way” “What do you think you are doing?” Fish ignored them and kept on jumping. One day, after a great jump, the other fishes started clapping and celebrating Fish. Fish was finally in, he was a Big Fish in a Big Sea.

It didn’t take long for Fish to feel like something was missing. He started feeling as restless as he had been in the small sea. He couldn’t understand why. He was a big fish in a big sea, a Fish Star, like he always wanted. He thought that maybe he needed a bigger sea so he started looking for another way out-in. There had to be more seas.

He remembered how he got to the big sea in the first place. Could he do it again? He tried and tried. He jumped and jumped but it did not seem to work. Just as he was about to give up he jumped again and went up, and up and up, just like the first time.

When Fish came down he found himself in a very small sea. It was so small that he could hardly swim without bothering other fishes. He was a very big fish in a very small sea, in a small pond. The sea was indeed small. It was also cozy. Strangely, Fish felt at peace. He even stopped jumping. The other fishes in the pond were quite taken by Fish. He was big and shiny and he had so many stories about other seas and great jumps.

Soon all the other fishes knew all of Fish’s stories and adventures. Fish realized that he had been too busy telling his stories about big seas and great jumps that he had stopped jumping and looking for a way out-in. But there were no more stories to tell and he wanted to jump again but he did not need a way in-out anymore.

There was one problem. The small sea was so, so, so small Fish did not have space to jump. And just when he started feeling trapped in the small sea the other fishes surrounded him, flapped their fins, and flew away from the small pond taking Fish with them.

The other fishes were in a small pond because they wanted to, not because they were trapped- as Fish had thought when he first came to the small sea. They could fly in and out whenever they wanted to but they liked their little sea. Now they were leaving their sea to help Fish to find his way. The flying fishes took Fish to his sea and went back to their small sea.

Fish was back. He visited all the reefs and talked with all the fishes. He did not need to tell his stories. The turtles and the whales had told all the other fishes the story of the Fish Star who jumped so high he could have touched the moon.

Something funny happened to Fish. He no longer needed the other fishes to see him as a Fish Star. He realized that he could be anything; a small fish in a small sea, a small fish in a big sea, a big fish in a small or big sea, he could be all those things. But all that mattered was that he remembered to be those things for himself. The minute Fish understood this simple truth, he truly became a Fish Star.

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