- Vol. 03
- Chapter 02
Image by Philipp Keller/Stelzer Group/EMBL
Small fishBefore I know it he is shouting at me again and for the life of me, I can't remember why. I can't even imagine what I have done wrong this time.
I smile, thinking I'm safe now, because we're not at his place.
We're in a tiny brown-bricked side alley just off Mare Street, Hackney, and I can hear the crowd from The London Fields pub leave after last call.
I let him shout at me without really listening: I need to tell myself I'm safe. He wouldn't do anything out in the open, would he?
He's more a behind closed doors kind of guy.
Then all of a sudden I'm not there anymore.
I'm in Barcelona.
I'm five years old and I'm with my parents, walking through the tunnels of the first aquarium I've ever seen in my life.
I am happy.
They are happy.
We are all fucking happy.
My dad is trying to catch my attention, to show me sharks, dolphins or whatever it is that he's shouting about.
I'm not having it.
I'm looking at the evolution of small fish.
"Don't you want to see the dolphins, honey?" says my mother.
"What are you looking at?"
I point at the old scans, bathed in neon lights.
I don't explain why because I don't know the words: I'm five, for fuck's sake.
Small fishIf I did know the words, I would have said: "Small fish still exist. They haven't been killed. They didn't go extinct. Look at how small things like this still survived, swimming through the tide and kept on despite all the shit bigger fish and the whole world put them through."
"Can you hear me? Can you hear me?"
Shut up mum, I'm looking at fish.
I wake up on a grey anonymous East London pavement, damp with my blood, a paramedic desperately trying to get me to talk.
That's it, it's over.
Small fish still swim through the tide, no matter what sort of crazy shit bigger fish or the whole world put them through.