The Betta

There are a few things in life that I try to avoid and going into Pet Shops are one of them (running in front of a truck being another example). I have a ‘I want it’ kind of personality. I look at all the creatures stuck in their pens and cages and I can’t help myself, I want them all. My first bad pet shop move was when I bought my parrot some 17 years ago. If I had had any common sense when I was ten I would’ve realized that I was setting myself up for a life time commitment but, at that time the only thing I could think of was.

“I want it.”

In recent years I’ve managed to keep these urges to a minimum (after my mother threatened to leave if I brought one more animal home) and of late my obsession for lack of a better way of saying it have been confined to fish. With my new job, all the animals in my life got an upgrade. My parrot got a bigger cage and a ton of new toys, my old geriatric sausage dog got some decent type dog food guaranteed to keep her fit and lean for years to come and I bought a big aquarium for my gold fish (as well as two more fancy gold fish who got pinged on the “I want it,” radar). After I acquired a pleco last week, I told myself that I now have enough creatures in my small garden flat but that resolution was not to be.

Last week I stepped into a pet shop to buy some catfish food for my pleco when I saw a row of jars against the corner. Intrigued, I went over and saw that they were samurai fighting fish (bettas). I found this ironic because an author whose blog I follow recently posted about her own betta fish. I never really thought of them until that moment. I looked around the jars and got the distinct and foreboding feeling of:

“I want it.”

Being a good girl, I left but the nagging feeling of wanting one remained. I resolved to stay away from pet shops for a while but unfortunately that was not to be. Today, for work, I had to go and get some prices of certain products – coincidentally at this very same pet shop that I had been the week before. Unable to resist, I went back to the betta jars and studied them, amazed at all the colours. There were black ones, blue ones, red ones and a strange grey one. I looked at each of the jars, amazed at how beautiful and calm the fish seemed. Then, quite suddenly, as I looked at the last one, it gave me a very direct look and flaired. Its little body changed from pale white (with dusted red tips) to a brilliant red colour. I put it down and stepped away and, sure enough, the fish calmed down. I told myself to step away and managed to get as far as the door when I turned back.

Again I picked up the jar, again the betta flaired all the while looking directly at me.

I couldn’t stop myself so, when the store attendant came closer and asked me if she could help me, I found myself almost uttering the words.

“I want it.”

But, I didn’t take it immediately. I drove back to work in a hurry, only to find myself turning back (as a torrential downpour of rain started) about a block from work. I drove back to the store like a maniac, grabbed the attendant who had helped me before and told her (most probably looking like a soaked, red headed mad woman).

“I really want it.”

So, I brought it home, first hiding it in my office so that my boss couldn’t see that I had wasted valuable company time acquiring a beautiful, slightly aggravated fish. Now, it’s settled in my old fish tank (with new accessories naturally) and I’m vigorously reading up on what I need to know about these fish (as I’ve only ever had gold fish). I have a habit of naming my fish after characters in the books that I’m currently reading. Rightfully, this fish is now called al’Lan Mandagoran after a character from Robert Jordan but, in my mind, I find myself calling it Harrison – after the author who spoke about them first and planted the seed of want in my heart.

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4 thoughts on “The Betta

  1. Jenn February 7, 2011 / 8:44 pm

    o_0 Shiny! I just have to say thanks a whole bunch. I’ve been without a fish at my desk for ages now & I can’t have them at home becuase of the cats. Now I want a fish again!!!
    I can so picture you skulking around the office with your contraband lol. Fun!

    • Alyssa February 7, 2011 / 9:18 pm

      LOL, one of the reasons i don’t keep cats. I have too many fish… And I would seriously shoot any feline who knocks over my tanks… Especially because Lan is now standing on top of my printer by my computer. If he gets knocked over my whole system’s fried…

  2. Antonio February 7, 2011 / 9:38 pm

    “Who’s a pretty fish?”

    OK, that doesn’t work with fish. You know what you should have named him/her?…

    Metal Rabbit!

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