It's taken almost three days, yet he's hanging in there. He's a tough little critter, but it's reached the point where I can't bear to watch. He's on his side on the bottom of the bowl, bent into a painful-looking quarter-circle, gills barely moving; sometimes he tracks me with a single eye - a black circle that shifts slowly, like a partial eclipse, across the silvered disk of its socket - too weak to do anything else but watch me. I can't bear it.
I've always liked that fish: scrawny and pale, but hyperactive, busy, an upturned black marking above one side of his mouth, like a cock-eyed, badly-drawn pencil-mustache; he's a louche little motherfucker: clearly some sort of self-identification going on here. My wife laughs at my discomfort, that I go 'awwww...' in a primary-school teacher voice every time I pass him, stop, and detect an imperceptible movement.
Sentiment will almost certainly be my downfall.