Question : Write a story about a routine activity, try making it interesting and you can write anything you want as long as it does not involve porn, your classmate dying in a horrible manner or your classmate becoming a dog.
Title : Buying Fish
Written by : Zaidel Baharuddin
Due to the creativity restrictions and control imposed by the fascist nature of the question I have decided to write a routine activity that I don't do. I for one do not buy fish and by that I mean raw fish. To me fishes are classified into two main categories which is how they are cooked (curry, asam pedas, fried..) and how many bones do they have. Which is why one should be able to tell by that statement alone that I am a chicken kind of a guy, and by that I mean I like to eat chicken. My father however buys fish weekly, he would wake up on a Saturday morning (when I usually sleep) and stroll down to the fish market. Then in the afternoon it would be on our table and to his irritation I usually pick the chicken instead.
So once fine Saturday morning my father decided to bestow his knowledge and experience of buying fish to his youngest son. Coincidentally earlier that morning (around 3.30 am) his youngest son crept in the house like a burglar coming back from doing something stupid. To make matter worse this young man decided to make his night more meaningful by watching... uhmm ...... interesting documentary about migrating birds thus only went to bed at around 4.30 am. At 8.00 am in the morning when the sun was shining it's beautiful ray my father decided to wake me and ask me to participate in his fishy activity.
So there I was forcefully volunteered to follow my dad looking at dead fishes. The old man who seem irritated by my burst of sarcastic enthusiasm said that
"You must learn to buy fish, how can you get married if you don't even know what fish to buy?" To which I reply "That's okay, I will tell my wife to buy takeaways."
"Hah like this who is going to marry you?"
Upon arriving at the market I smell a very strong but familiar odour, it was then I discovered that my recycled underwear smells like a dead wet fish. There my father joins a bunch of people looking at a group of fish carcasses. If the fish's eye is red that means that it is no longer fresh was one of the advice given by my father. So there I was all yawning and irritated learning about fishes, which is siakap and which one is tenggiri. Which fish have more bones and what fish is good to be cooked as curry. But apparently my father's effort was wasted as to this day I am unable to tell which fish is what. After we have picked the fishes I thought that everything was over and I can finally return to previous activity but alas this is no fairytale. When we went back my father then decided to teach me how to clean the fish. So he showed me how to clean the internal organs on how the fishmonger don't really did a good job and this task though very dirty and icky it helps my mother when she cooks the fish. He said "Look your mother cook for you a nice meal and the least thing you can do is buy the the fish and prepare it well."
But in my head I was thinking why don't we save all the trouble and just buy a chicken instead.
Years gone by and now as I grow older it is only then that I realised the true lesson that I learned that day. It's not about fish or how to clean them, but instead I learned something that my father never intended to teach me in that lecture he gave and it was about love. Not many men (especially malay men) who are willing to wake up Saturday morning to buy fish and prepare it for their wives to cook. My father choose the best fish the one's that he knew my mother likes to eat or that is suitable with my mother's recipe. He would first discuss it with my mother what recipe is she going to use on that day before buying a fish. Then after that he would do all the dirty work because he knew that his wife would prepare him a good meal and the least he can do is this. Back then the cavemen went hunting or fishing to provide the food in his household so the least thing my father could do is at least buy them at the market.
I always hear people discussing about Love and go into this in depth discussion about feelings, compatibility and the typical romance versus reality thing. So when people talk to me about love, interestingly the first thing that comes to my mind is "Buying Fish." It is now that I realise that it would be very hard for me to become even half of the husband, lover and man that my father is. I guess the moral of the story is love is best portrayed not in poetry, flowers or beautiful gifts but instead it is best portrayed in the mundane thoughtful routine that we do to make our loved ones happy. For let's not forget action speaks louder than words...
Will you marry me if I don't know how to buy a fish?
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