We have four fish, two bettas in separate bowls on our kitchen counter and two fancy goldfish in a 10-gallon tank on a table between the counter and the dining room. I can hear the gurgle and hum of the tank's air pump from my desk, which occupies a corner of the dining room. And while I ostensibly bought the fish for Lucas, really they're my fish, as I'm the one who cares for them, changes the water and cleans the tank, and spends the most time watching them. Between caring for the fish and hearing the air pump's hum, these four fish take up a bigger amount of my mind-space than maybe they should.
I have this recurring dream--I hesitate to call it a nightmare, though it certainly verges on that--where the bowls and tank develop cracks, and I have to very quickly find new homes for the fish, containers where they can live for at least a day or two until I can get to the store. And of course at the moment I need to rehouse them, all the appropriately sized bowls are being used for something else essential, and in the dream suddenly all my flower vases are tiny or narrow bud vases that tilt at odd angles, and the fish are too big for water glasses.
Clearly the dream is rich in metaphor and allegory. I have too many responsibilities. I'm trying to do too much. Everything is cracking and leaking. I don't have sufficient resources. I'm a lousy parent. I'm a fish out of water.