One day I caught the golden fish.
‘What wish can I grant you?’ he asked me.
‘I wish I could have at least one wish,’ I answered, ‘I’m out of wishes…’
‘I can only grant wishes, not produce wishes,’ he told me, compassionately. ‘Do you want to be loved, do you want to be rich, do you want to have friends? Think.’
‘I want one wish, little fishy, one wish that I can never fulfill. One wish that I can never grow tired of… one that I can’t lose, like all the others…’
The fish’s eyes were moist, but all fishes’ eyes are probably moist. How can you tell what lies in the gaze of a fish?
‘Get me a drop of future,’ I asked of him…
‘Future? Future? Make a wish that that can be granted later,’ he told me. ‘Do you want to be loved, do you want to have friends, do you want to be rich?’
‘I’ve lost love, friends have betrayed me, riches have scattered… but all these don’t really matter. Betrayals and friendships have drained my desire. I only need a drop of desire, a grain of exaltation, a reverie, no matter how small… If not a real wish, at least give me an illusion, fishy, and I will be grateful.
He was looking at me puzzled, I think, with his fish eyes.
‘I feel sorry for you, you’ve caught me in vain. Let me go or eat me… I can’t offer illusions either. I grant wishes, that’s it.’
‘Then help me live in the past, as if my loves haven’t extinguished, as if my friends haven’t betrayed me, as my riches haven’t scattered.’
‘I only grant wishes in the present… I feel sorry for you.’
‘Then make me forget,’ I asked him. ‘Make me forget what it’s like to have desires.’
‘You’re very picky,’ he answered. ‘A strange species.’
‘Stranger than a golden fish who grants wishes?’
‘Why don’t you wish to not have any wishes? It’s wiser.’
‘But I don’t want to be wise. I want to believe in love and in friends and in the richness of the heart… I want to believe. Look, I want to believe in everything I’ve ever believed in, to believe like an idiot…’
‘If only if it were that easy! I want to at least believe in loneliness and the eclipse of the future, can I?’
‘Who’s keeping you from believing?’
‘Who’s keeping you from flying?’
‘Well, I’m a fish… Fish don’t fly.’
‘People don’t have wishes after their hearts have dried up, after their friends have betrayed them, after their loves have extinguished. Desire is a kind of flying. And people fly for a while, then crash inside themselves.’
‘I didn’t know that… that people can fly,’ the fish said, perplexed. ‘What is really the problem? You want to fly and you don’t dare to ask for it, is that what you want?’
‘Sort of,’ I answered… ‘But not too high, because I get altitude sickness.’
‘Then, thy will be done,’ he said and disappeared.
I immediately felt my back heavy with the burden of wings. What am I supposed to do now, with two wings and no desire? It’s not for nothing that they say fish are thick-brained.