Rise of the Pond King

My pond is no longer mine.Before, through all of its phases, trials and tribulations—mud hole to dinner bowl, salt pond to oasis and even through the attack of the diving birds and the arrival of the suspected killers-and-still-on-probation-in-my-book monster leles, the pond in our back yard was mine—I graciously shared it with Rohemon. Sure, he did all the work and tending, but I was actively involved in the process. I decided what plants would be permitted to live in it, and what type of fish to buy. I decided the pond would have rocks on the bottom and around the edges, what kind and what color—even when those rocks turned out to be salt emoting, freshwater fish suffocating coral. And because it was mine, I cared about the pond’s growth, death, and multiple incarnations even as it morphed into its current form: a holding pen for slimy, ugly, beige-brown-and-white-splotched, bewhiskered, eelish leles, I cared.

The last Sunday I fed the fish—or should I say casually tossed in a handful of feed and turned away without watching to see if anything surfaced or not—I realized that I don’t care anymore. My ownership of the pond, and with it my love of the pond, has passed. For me, it has become “the water feature in the yard” or Rohemon’s kolom ikan, “pool for fish”/folly. And my Sunday pond and fish ritual has become a joyless chore. Rohemon has taken over the pond—he is the Pond King.

The lease on our Jakarta house is up for renewal. Before we resign our lease we will re- negotiate our agreement. The property manager will try to get more money from us and we will make a list of repairs/changes we want them to make. This is the time—the only time during the term of our lease--when we can expect any remodeling, painting, or fixing from our landlord.

Rohemon may be the new Pond King, but I hold the purse. I am the Super Power in our little world. I could retake possession of the pond—force Rohemon out, turn those nasty lele into bird food (or people food), have the whole pond redesigned, replanted, repopulated. Or….I could have the whole blasted thing ripped out.