It was a quiet evening. My two younger sisters were getting ready for bed, my dad and brother were coming home from a softball game, and I sat on the couch comfortably with my mom as we folded the last of the laundry. Everything was peaceful—until that moment abruptly ended.
From the downstairs bedroom came a crash followed by a bloodcurdling scream and uncontrollable wailing. This sudden outburst startled me, and I prepared for the worst. My mom sprinted down the stairs, and I was not far behind her. My sister—through her sobs—told us what happened.
She was getting ready for bed, cleaning up whatever was left out in our room. She meant to throw a wad of socks into the hamper, but she clumsily missed. The wad of socks hit the large vase that she used as a fishbowl. Now there was water all over our floor, rocks scattered here and there, and my sister’s motionless blue betta fish—Cobalt.
My devastated sister ran and threw herself on the stairs, bewailing the loss of her fish. Mom and I hurriedly gathered a couple of towels and started to clean up the water mess. While cleaning, an unspoken standoff ensued: neither of us wanted to pick up Cobalt.
When we bought the fish, my mom distinctly told us she would not have anything to do with it; she would not feed it or change the water, and she especially would not pick him up. I knew I did not want to handle the deceased carcass. Neither of us budged in our standoff as the fish remained limp on the bedroom floor. But what happened next added even more to the hysterics—Cobalt moved!
We screamed—staring at each other in shock! Our screams caused my sister to reemerge, and hope quickly ignited within her. She perceptively took notice of the unspoken standoff and pleaded for someone to intercede and save her pet from certain doom.
I dug down—plumbing the depth of my being—trying to find the courage to pick up that barely breathing, nearly dead, two-inch, disgusting slime ball. As fast as I could, in one sweeping motion, I scooped up the scaly fish and winged him into the fishbowl. Before I could even set the fishbowl back on the desk, my sister—who immediately transformed from as state of devastation to that of manic giddiness—had me in the clutch of her tight embrace as she jumped up and down, squealing with delight. She proclaimed me her hero.
For those who think this was a minuscule feat, imagine facing off with your own Goliath. One of the hardest things to battle is the self—especially when you are afraid. They say, “Mind over matter,” which means the use of willpower to overcome physical problems—thus bringing yourself to a point where you grit your teeth and take control of the situation.
I was propelled to save Cobalt’s life because of the love I have for my sister. We are often actuated to do certain things because we are devoted to something—or someone—more than we are devoted to ourselves. That drive, and devotion, will help us do things that maybe we think we would never do. I hope to encourage you in your future endeavors of combat: You can win your battles and find humor in defeating your fears.