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Deandra Tan
Age 11


When Mama came back from a trip with four goldfish, I started keeping goldfish as pets. I had this connection with the fish. I seemed to understand the fish and could almost imagine what they were saying.

Then my friend got a gerbil. When I went to her house, I had a lot of fun playing with it. I was soon begging for one. My parents finally agreed to get me a gerbil at the end of the summer.

The day before I got my gerbil, my last group of fish got sick. I knew it immediately because my fish were swimming around on their sides. I also knew they would all die the next day. I gazed at them for the last time and then went to bed.

The next morning, I woke up to find my dead fish bobbing on the surface of the water-just as I had expected. Then something swam out from behind the plastic reef-a fish! The fish looked at me with sad eyes and moved its mouth up and down as if to say, "Please, don’t trade me for a gerbil! I stayed alive just to be with you!"

"I’ll think about it," I said.

I sat on my bed thinking hard. The last surviving fish watched me with pleading eyes. I’d like to keep the fish, I thought. But I wanted a gerbil so badly! If only I could have both. But I knew Mama wouldn’t let me have both. I was going to get a gerbil, I thought firmly. That’s what I wanted, that’s what I would get.

"Sorry," I said to the fish. I waved good-bye.

As I walked out the door, the fish turned sadly to hide behind his reef. Before I went away, I stared at him so I could remember him for as long as I lived.


Princess of the Canoe

I opened my eyes. All I saw was Mama's back with the autum orange life vest around her neck. My family was in a canoe that looked like a cow with those big spots. I looked painfully at the gnat caught in the web next to me. I watched in envy as Mama lifted the green oar and gently pushed the water behind her. Again and again. I twisted my neck to see Papa do the same. (Very hard to do with a blue life vest around your neck.) I was sitting on a foldable red beach chair with a plastic bar infront of me. It was so unfair! Mama got to paddle infront just because her back hurts so I had to sit next to the gnats and the fact that I fear bugs didn't help. I tried to make it more fun. I tried to pretend that I was a a princess being served. More like princess of the gnats, I thought glumly. Papa and Mama worked together to dodge the tree stumps before the island. The island is a mound thick with bushes. It was only a yard long and a yard wide. When we were past the island, Mama said, "Deandra, take a look at what you see. Remember this as long as you live. " I took a good look before I closed my eyes. I saw trees that looked like gray silver reefs and tropical blue water. When I got back home, I tried to picture what I just saw. I closed my eyes and saw the lake as clear as a photo. I think I will remember the autum scene of the lake.



Deandra Tan lives in New York City and attends Sixth grade. In her free time she loves to read, draw, scooter and play Gameboy. She also enjoys Kung Fu marital arts which she recently began studying. She often wishes she had a sister or a dog but settles for having a light gray gerbil named cuddles.


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