She missed moving water.
She missed seeing the stars in the night sky, the others swimming alongside her. She missed the rhythm of her days.
It had begun in such promising fashion.
She saw the lure, shiny and sparkling in the sun. She took it. And that is when the glass walls around her went up.
At first, the enclosure did not make itself apparent. She occupied herself gazing into the fisherman’s kind eyes, basking in his admiring smile.
As time went on, she swam this way and that, bumping into a wall no matter which direction she turned. It seemed the enclosure shrunk a bit with each passing day.
His eyes remained kind but ever watchful. When he saw her gazing wistfully at the schools passing by, those eyes became reproachful, sometimes angry. And his smile, no less admiring, was a beautiful smile but just one, after all. She missed the others. The ones that went beyond admiration to understanding, acceptance, comradery.
Slowly, over time, she stopped swimming. She thought of days past when the stream seemed rough, when she bemoaned being thrown against the rocks or hitting white water. She realized now even that was better than stagnation.
Water, without movement, is beautiful only for a time.
One day, she retired all hope, flopping belly up. And that is when she saw the stars in the night sky, unencumbered by any glass between her and their twinkling light. Summoning all she had left, she leaped upward, survived the resulting freefall and landed, again, in moving water.
Kind eyes and an admiring smile fading slowly into the distance, she thanked him for what he had shown her. And swam on, knowing now that she could not be caged or kept. The kind eyes she would stay with were those that would be willing to swim along beside her, allowing the water to have its way with them.