When Mrs. G. loaded up her '67 red VW Bug to head to college, she took along her high school boyfriend, Eric, and her goldfish, Roxy. Both of them were unfailingly loyal. Eric held Roxy in her glass bowl as they hurtled down I-5 from Portland to Eugene.
One of the conditions of Mrs. G's parents paying for college was Mrs. G. giving the Greek system a try. Mrs. G's stepfather had fond memories of his fraternity days and he wanted Mrs. G. to create some of her own. So, in pursuit of higher education, Mrs. G. reluctantly played along and was invited to join the Delta Gamma house at the University of Oregon. One of the most "popular" sororities on campus, it was also referred to as Delta Glamma because it was chock full of fake-tanned blondes dressed like the Kennedys at a clam bake in Hyannisport and The White House because several members had an eager affection for Blow. As you can imagine, Mrs. G. fit right in.
Since Mrs. G. was a pledge, she shared a room with her sorority Big Sister. Mrs. G's portion of the room included two drawers and a quarter of a closet. She never fully unpacked her suitcase. No one slept in their rooms but rather in a "sleeping porch," which was simply a large room filled with bunk beds where 45 girls crashed. The sleeping porch was Mrs. G's nightmare. She couldn't sleep with all snoring, lip smacking and narcissistic consumption of her air. She would lie in bed and imagine all the hot breath permeating the room. It was paradise...for Ted Bundy.
Because of her lack of personal space, Eric agreed to keep Roxy at his place. He, too, was living in a fraternity, a more civilized space where you got your own room with your own bed in it. Roxy lived on Eric's dresser and Mrs. G. would come over daily to feed her and make out with Eric. It worked for all involved.
As hell week approached, the weekly ceremony where you commit to being a full fledged member of the sorority, Mrs. G. started secretly looking for studio apartments. She'd heard rumors that hell week included nudity, blindfolds, car trunks, sketchy second locations and beer bongs. Though only nineteen, Mrs. G. was actually born a 36-year-old, leery of horseplay, monkey business and local law enforcement. Hell week? Uh uh. She wasn't having it. She wasn't having any of it. She broke the news to her parents and sorority sisters and moved out.
Her boyfriend Eric chose to go through hell week and other than being hung over and exhausted, he seemed none the worse for wear. Mrs. G. pressed him for details of his hazing but he kept his fraternity oath and refused to share even one detail of the most chaste depravity. When Mrs. G. headed to the stairs to feed Roxy (and make out), Eric stopped her and told her he had some bad news: Roxy had inexplicably died.
Mrs. G. gasped. Roxy was relatively young in goldfish years. It was an untimely death. And then it hit Mrs. G. like a two ton truck. Hell week.
"Did you eat Roxy?" Mrs. G. screamed.
Eric insisted he had not.
"Just tell me," Mrs. G. lied, "If they made you eat my goldfish, I will understand. I know the demands of hell week can be excruciating. Just tell me the truth and we can put it behind us."
"I swear I didn't eat Roxy," Eric said, "She just died."
Mrs. G. let it rest.
But just for a bit.
Nothing was ever the same for she and Eric. She didn't trust him as far as she could throw him. When he kissed her, she tasted aquarium.
Three weeks later Mrs. G. called it quits. It's impossible to devote yourself to someone who might have eaten your pet.
Mrs. G. will never really know without actual proof if Eric ate Roxy but, frankly, Mrs. G. doesn't need proof. Judge and jury, she knows the bastard did it.
Mrs. G. has forgiven Eric but she can't speak for Roxy, who, sadly, is unable to speak for herself, her life cut so wretchedly short. But if there are goldfish in the afterlife, Eric had better watch his sorry ass.