Although it may not seem like it, a pet store can be a good place to find yourself on an accidental date. There are, of course, the puppies. And what lady doesn’t like the puppies? But my girlfriend Juliet and I expanded our pet store wanderings beyond the four-legged fluffy area and wound up in the tank and terrarium aisle, filled with various creatures from fish to frogs.

We witnessed mating snails, introverted hermit crabs peeking out from shells, Siamese fighting fish swimming angrily in their separate bowls, and colorful koi representing the beauties that fish can be. Then we noticed a strange thing. Two tanks were side by side, each with a different species of fish–one filled with skinny red fish, the other with skinny blue fish. Yet, a few blue fish were mysteriously swimming in the tank with the red fish–a tank away from the rest of their brethren. Had they accidentally been dumped in the wrong tank? Regardless of how they got there, the blue fish in the wrong tank stayed obsessively near the wall closest to their own tank.

Juliet and I talked about it for a few minutes, noting how the blue fish in the wrong tank stared through the glass at the other blue fish, seemingly fixated on finding a way back to their tank. The misplaced fish even had skinny blue friends in the other tank swimming up and down with them–as if they were mirror images of each other. Juliet took my hand and leaned her head against mine. Watching those blue fish swim together, yet separate in their different tanks, made us think about ourselves and realize that when you love someone, it’s difficult to be separated. And one transparent barrier can be half a world away.

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