Let’s keep this brief shall we? What exactly is the The Fish, The Gap Year, & The Wait?
Well, they seem to be metaphors. And most notably, they were all derived from the brilliant mind of one Mr. Harold Edward Styles. Many Zarries (myself included) genuinely believe these three concepts were the best way he could think to explain what was going on between he and Zayn from 2019-2020—-following what some of us believe was a breaking point in their theoretical post-2015 relationship (meaning they got back together after the band in 2016/2017) We believe they essentially broke up again between late 2018 -2019. That’s my personal theory, anyway. I can’t speak for other Zarries, so I will not attempt to do so. Going forward in this post, I will be describing my own theory on these three metaphors.
- The Fish
- The Gap Year
- The Wait
- Where they stand now.
1 – The Fish. The golden (and later iridescent) fish to be precise.
When taking the album Fine Line as one full story, and listening from beginning to end like Harry recommends, “Adore You” is a song where Harry seems to describe the euphoria he felt at getting back with Zayn in 2017 (I’ll break down my thoughts on the album storyline in the Fine Line Post soon.)
In that song he makes references to getting lost inside Z’s eyes (Remember he admitted he missed his eyes after going without Zayn for a few days in 2012?) and he also makes references to Z’s notorious reticence (“You don’t have to say nothing…”) and most significantly, he makes reference to his brown skin.
Watch: Harry Styles “Adore You” Is About Zayn
When asked about the fish from the music video in a later interview with Sirius Radio in 2020, Harry disclosed that for him the fish is a HE. He did not hesitate for a second. He openly let us know he personified the fish (the object of his undying adoration) as a male.
2 – The Gap Year. Following the release of “Adore You,” Harry gave an update on his relationship with the fish from the music video, who at the time was the object of his affection and total devotion. In the same interview with Sirius Radio in early 2020, he indicated that he and the fish were taking some time apart, that the fish was traveling “on a gap year,” that things were complicated, but that ultimately he hoped the fish would come home safe. At this point, he gestured to himself, indicating he thought of himself as the fish’s home.
In the clip from that radio interview where he talks about “the gap year,” it’s clear to me that Harry is being partly facetious about the fish, but certain aspects of his tone and demeanor betray he is not joking 100%. I perceive that he is exposing subtle truths about his complicated relationship with Zayn after 2015, but he’s wrapping it up in a joke because it’s the only way he can express how he feels about it. He can’t just come out and say he’s having trouble with Zayn. The world would go mad. But that is his truth, and it’s so sad he has never been able to alleviate that stress by simply talking about it.
So instead, he pretends Zayn is a pet fish that he once had and took care of and who he really liked, as he admitted in his Tiny Desk interview. Look at the affect with which Harry expresses these things about this fish. The fish is not really a pet fish. It is a person who he cares for deeply, and this very person is the inspiration behind the love-drunk lyrics of devotion throughout “Fine Line” but especially in “Adore You.”
Here are all the times Harry let it slip that the “fish” from “Adore You” was far more than a literal fish:
What I find interesting is that in the music videos for Zayn’s album NIL, he seems (in some ways) to hint that he KNOWS he is Harry’s fish. It’s difficult to explain, but I see him almost assuming the role in some ways, both in the video for “Better” and in “Vibez.” He is behaving like he knows someone is waiting on him, which is why he shows himself on a journey, and shows himself returning to the mysterious couch draped in Bode.
Here is Zayn proving he knows he is Harry’s fish:
3 – The Wait. Finally, in Harry’s December 2020 Vogue photoshoot, we are introduced to a poem called “The Wait” by Richard Brautigan (author of “In Watermelon Sugar”) that he placed on his customized senior cords Bode pants.
There are three things of note here. 1) These are customized Bode pants. 2) Zayn copied Harry and went and got a customized senior cords jacket by Bode. 3) Harry is basically confirming our theories that he is “waiting” on Zayn. Before I ever saw this photoshoot and this poem, it had always been my personal theory that Harry was waiting to be with Zayn. I think that has been obvious since he was 19 years old and wrote “Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart” and then followed it up with “Someday Maybe” in response to “I Won’t Mind.”
Here is an excerpt from “This Thing Upon Me” where I express that notion from Zayn’s point of view before this Vogue photoshoot even dropped.
But here’s the thing. It has always been abundantly clear that Harry was waiting on Zayn. I didn’t need a poem to tell me that. And, imo, anyone who denies that fact is being intellectually dishonest. Harry has always been the chaser where matters of the heart are concerned. I’m sure Zayn “chased” Harry at times for physical reasons, but I think he has generally always pushed Harry away (and ran from him) where his emotions are concerned.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Harry enjoys the physical aspects of his relationship with Zayn too (uh, hello “Medicine” and “Watermelon Sugar”) but it is my thought that Harry has also always NEEDED the emotional aspect to balance out the physical, and was therefore always deprived of it. That seems to be stated in both of their music again and again. Regardless of who hurt who and when. Obviously they both hurt each other at times. But the general notion in both their music is:
Zayn didn’t realize he was in love and he mistook it for lust; he is the often guarded, silent, and defensive (“Common”) and he is the more practical minded one as far as public appearances and the possibility of them being together in a conventional way is concerned (“I Won’t Mind”.) He is also the frightened one who beards deeply and has for a long period of time. (Zerrie engagement & Zigi baby)
Harry, however, beards in short, superficial spurts and seems to grow bored of anyone who isn’t Zayn. Harry wears his heart on his sleeve and sings about Zayn very obviously and directly (cough Fine Line cough.) Harry needs Zayn in all respects, physical and emotional (JALBOYH) so he is the more clingy, romantic, and obsessive one. He is also just a delusional optimist where all things are concerned, such as the state of the crumbling world (“Treat People With Kindness”) and in his relationship with Zayn.
Point being, Harry has been (I think) optimistic enough to feel like Zayn would eventually change and be with him. He hopes that someday Zayn is “open.” Idk how Harry feels after the baby of course, but him putting this poem on these pants in December 2020 seems to suggest maybe he is still waiting on Zayn? Even after the baby? In which case I just gotta say… Harry sweetie…(ugh if he was my real life friend I would have slapped him so hard by now, hoping he’d come to his senses and start taking care of himself and his heart.)
Let’s not forget Zayn’s coat, which I once found super-duper adorable, but then it was violated by Zigi so now it’s just kinda, meh. *rolls eyes*
Anyway, here’s me talking about “The Wait” in a video from last year.
4 – Where they stand now. Yah…I don’t even know.
That was everything right? *counts fingers* “The Fish, The Gap Year, & The Wait.”
Yup, I think that about covers it.