She kept saying – I knew all weekend something had happened. I told you.
She had told us. Told us until we were sick of it. She never shut up. She hadn’t wanted to go to Grandma’s for the weekend. Mind you she had always thought she knew more than anyone else. She was always telling everyone else what to do. When it became true she thought she could predict the future. No one really took any notice of her. I ignored her.
But she was always making predictions. She even wrote to the newspapers. They even printed what she said. "Young girl predicts future" was the headline. They wrote about what she had predicted – my sister was certain something was going to happen to Princess Diana. She had written to Princess Di telling her and received a reply. The paper printed both her letter and the reply, which was on Buckingham Palace Stationery. The paper made a big deal about this – can you believe it they said – a reply from Buckingham Palace itself. As it was the reply was not from Princess Di but from her Lady In Waiting. It said the Princess had taken note of what she said and wished my sister well. My sister always said Princess Di was not allowed to reply herself. That’s why the reply came from Buckingham Palace and not Kensington Palace. The Queen checked on what she was writing and only let ladies in waiting reply. My Sister was always trying to be something special at school. She showed her letter to anyone who would look. When her letter and the reply was printed in the paper my sister thought she was famous. You couldn’t talk to her.
I always liked going to Grandma’s. She always had secret presents for me. She always cooked things that I liked. I was her only Grandson. She always whispered this to me when she hugged me. I could stay in bed until lunchtime. She would even bring me breakfast in bed. She never once did this for my sister. I once wanted a pistol and she bought it for me and didn’t tell my mother. We kept it a secret. I hid it in my wardrobe and only showed it to other boys. I never showed it to my sister.
When we came home, as soon as we came in the front door, I could see that the fish tank had something wrong with it. It was clouded for one thing. The big fish was missing. My first thought was that we had been broken into and I ran to look in the wardrobe but my pistol was still there.
The fish was out of its water lying in the centre of the lounge room on the carpet. It was quite still.
For some reason our mother liked the fish. Normally she hated pets. They dirtied up the house and smelled. She was always passing comments about the smell of other people’s houses. She was always putting her hankie up to her nose when we were down the street. We could never have a dog because they smelled horrible and left fur all over the place. She hated untidiness. Same with cats. But she liked the fish. She even took it out of its tank and put it in a fishbowl which she kept on the table. It’s giving it a holiday she would say. It can look at us and see what we are doing. It’s true – it did seem to swim around looking out of the fishbowl. But I thought it always looked forward to getting back into its tank with the other fish.
My job was to feed the fish. And clean the tank walls. My sister did nothing. His stupid fish – meaning me - she called them when she bought people home. It wasn’t my fish. We had won the fish and the tank in a school raffle. Our mother bought some small fish to fill up the tank because it looked empty and she wanted the large fish to have company. She had to buy a pump to put air into the tank and she complained about it wondering if it was worth it. But in time I think the fish became hers. She always reminded me when to feed them and I got sick of her telling me how to clean the tank properly.
When we found the fish out of water she demanded to know who had let the fish out of its tank.
We said no one did. It got out by itself. Maybe it had wanted to get into the fishbowl. She should have put it in its bowl before we left. Don’t be stupid she said – it would have died over the weekend without the water being changed.
No other fish were dead. But our fish was out of water.
As I said my sister cried for days. I don’t know why. She hated it.
She gave up trying to predict the future after that.