"Look at this one!" a high pitched voice pierced through the walls of my new home.
The voice belonged to a little girl that'd been browsing the fish for quite a long time.
"He's beautiful." a much lower voice replied.
I didn't know what they were talking about and I didn't care. All I knew was that I would never find a human willing to purchase me and get me out of here.
"Do you think I should buy him?" the girl asked.
Her voice annoyed me, but there was no way to escape it so I just swam around my cup to distract myself from what she was saying.
"I'd take him if I were you. All of the others are ugly." the low pitched voice responded.
That's all we're considered to these creatures. Decorations for their own dull houses. When the one they had before dies he or she is replaced with another. The cycle continues. I still wonder how I got into this situation. I was born into a large environment with my several brothers and sisters. It was perfect, but one day I was scooped up and sent away. I missed most of the journey due to the shipping box I was inside.
"Lets check out." the low pitched voice echoed as they walked away with my neighbor placed inside their cart.
I never liked my neighbor. He was nasty and always flared at me. Most of the time I ignored him, but when I got bored I liked to annoy him just as he was annoying me. Nobody took him seriously and now that he's gone we'll all get some peace.
I slept well that night knowing that I wouldn't have to worry about waking up to a betta with issues. That girl would probably care for him, but knowing how he acted he wouldn't be grateful that he got to leave this dump. If that was me I would've leapt with joy. You grow up hearing about these stores, but you never expect to end up in one. It's much worse living it than hearing it in a story passed through your family. All you can do is wait to be bought or wait for your death.
I didn't expect to get all of the excitement. There's never been a single human that's looked at me and decided to purchase me. I'm what my neighbor used to call an untouchable. Untouchables are the fish that are never chosen to live on by a human. They are rejected an eventually die on the shelf only to be replaced. I've seen it several times and accepted it as my own fate, but today it's changed. It's funny how fate has a way of switching at the last minute.
"Look at how his airhole is clogged, mom!" the girl gasped.
Yes, my airhole on my cup was clogged from when a brat thought it would be funny to attempt murder. He had to leave at the last minute so he left me like this.
"Well, I don't have any money to give you." her mother answered.
That's the typical answer that a parent would give to a child. It works almost every time. Hearing those words made my heart drop and my hopes lower, but the words I heard next made my day.
"I don't need any money from you. I have $21 in my pocket." the girl responded.
I was going to get out of that death bed. She scooped up my container, but was very gentle and refused to put me in the bumby cart. I was held to her chest to warm me up. Normally it would make me uncomfortable, but the water I was in was so very cold.
After being put inside a car where she held me and tried to keep the water still I was placed inside a tank like the one I was born in. It was roomy and perfect, but when I swam forward I hit the wall of my cup. I wasn't free yet. She let me float in the water for about 30 minutes and then placed me inside the real tank.
It felt great to stretch my fins and swim as fast as I could. After I had exhaused myself there was even some plants to lean against. I had temples and a heater and it seemed like my life turned around.
Years later I had passed away from old age and was buried in the girl's yard where she had planted some Marigolds. Inside of my shoe box coffin she had placed a note reading:
Isaiah, thank you for being my best friend when I had no other friends. I could always come to you when I was upset, but I just wish that I could've repaid you. Please, rest in peace knowing that you've changed my life.
The truth is my precious owner is that you've already repaid me. You provided me with a home that I didn't start out with. You saved me from a painful death and it is you that must be thanked.