Violin teachers are really hard to keep. My parents had me learn violin properly after I saw my sisters play and I begged to learn. Yeah, I was the kid that wanted to do what my older sisters and brother did. I love violin, but in hindsight I should have forged my own path and proven that I could earn medals without losing chess games or failing auditions for tennis tryouts.
Another obsession hard to keep is wanting a pet. I wanted a dog from a very young age. In grade school, I wanted to show off an animal on Pet Day, since due to not having one, I was very left out. My parents vetoed that. Instead I got a parakeet, and then goldfish, and then a beta fish. I cannot tell you why my parakeet, who I loved, lived only a week. My siblings said it was probably my fault and I did something wrong. As an adult, I concluded that since parakeets have a longer lifespan that the bird must have been sick.
Beauty as a parakeet was green and lovely. I don’t have any photos of her, sadly, and any we might have had would have been on my dad’s camera. We did get her from a pet shop, so that may have been a factor. Two goldfish died a day after my family brought them in as a gift.
As a kid, it took me a few dozen books to learn that you shouldn’t get any pet from a Pet Supermarket or such. Dogs are one thing, but people don’t talk about birds, hamsters, or fish. Granted, I was in my dog phase so maybe the hamster books mentioned it in the library. It’s better to go with a rescue, if possible, or a fish specialist.
Middle school fixed the obsession. There was so much work to do, not just violin but also studying, attempting a few days of track and realizing I was not a running person, and homework. While I had time to write editorials on anime and collaborate on Teen Titans fic, taking care of another living being was out of the question after my beta died.
Still, some of the pet longing remained. We went to this shopping complex for violin lessons, and I’d ask for a few minutes to explore the pet shop a few doors down. I got permission, and hit Pet Supermarket. There I’d marvel at the ferrets, the scared rabbits, and the occasional cat rescues.
I went back to the shop yesterday, while going to run an errand. It has been about fifteen years. Many For Lease signs surround the shop. I went inside, and saw fewer animals. The cat rescue cages were empty, there were just some rabbits and ferrets and one cage of parakeets. The fish still occupied the back of the store, swimming in circles. There were more pet supplies.
Things do change. The pet shop didn’t have the same allure as it did when I was a kid. The strip mall’s walls had all been painted yellow, since a hurricane ripped up the pink ones. It all looked nice. And reminded me how much time had passed.