Red Or Blue: The Tail Of A Bi-Colored Betta

Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
Image of Short Story
Finley the Betta Fish was a smart, vibrant, charismatic little fish. He went to school, he did his homework, he was always very helpful to his fellow peers. Finley seemed like the perfect fish. But little did his peers know that he struggled with his true identity. You see, Finley was a red betta, but his tail was a beautiful blue, and he absolutely loved that about himself because he knew that made him unique. Although he saw nothing wrong with his colorful, gleaming scales, there was one fish amongst his classmates, Cleo, that made him feel insecure. Cleo was the most popular fish in school and she was covered in the most exquisite cherry-like scales anyone had ever seen. Whenever Cleo talked to Finley, though, she would say things like, “you don’t belong here Finley. You’re just too blue.” Or she would comment, “stop trying to act like a Red. You are clearly not one of us.” He sometimes allowed her and others to speak about him in this way but never stood up for himself. These thoughts sank into Finley’s mind and he slowly began to believe he wasn’t as smart or beautiful as the True Reds.

One day, on his swim home from school, Finley began to contemplate those hurtful words Cleo used to describe his seemingly wonderful scales. He decided to ask his mother upon his arrival home why there were such cruel fish in the sea that treated the unique fish like outcasts? Surprised, she said to him, “Little Fin, your scales are beautiful and you are just as beautiful inside. Each day you express your love and care for others and you are always putting others before yourself. And sometimes, the other fish in your class may not understand your confidence or your heart.” Then Finley asked, “You’re my mom. Moms are supposed to say that about their children. But how will I ever make Cleo and the other fish understand and accept me?” His mother then replied, “Fin, you must show courage and stand up for yourself. Stand up to those who speak negativity about you and tell them who you really are; who I raised you to be.”

After a few days of allowing his mother’s words of wisdom and encouragement to sink in, Finley felt he had finally built up the courage to tell his classmates how some of them made him feel. He started with Cleo. He swam over to her just before class began and asked if he could speak to her privately, without the crowd she was so used to having surround her. She agreed and asked what he wanted from her. He declared, “Cleo, I want to tell you that I am Finley, Finley Gilman. I am intelligent, my colors are vibrant, and my character radiates throughout any room I enter. I have a blue tail and I am unique and that makes me special. I have a gift of serving others and lifting up those around me, and I want to share that with the sea. There may not be another fish like me in this school, but I will accept any and everyone that will accept me. I hope that you will.” When these words left Finley’s mouth Cleo simply responded, “Finally.”

Finley showed courage that day. He let his classmates know just how sure of himself he was and helped them understand that he was made for greatness just like them, regardless of the color of his scales and tail. His act of courage worked wonders for his life from then on. Some of his close friends even explained to him why Cleo felt that he wasn’t good enough to be a True Red. And the reason: “Finley, you don’t realize how many of the other fish admire you and your selfless heart. Cleo was envious of your utter confidence in yourself: the way you swim with your head high and how you speak with the utmost eloquence. Finley, you are beautiful, you do belong, you are loved, and we accept you.” After hearing these oh-so encouraging words, he knew with absolute certainty that living a courageous, positive, self-assured life was his purpose and he could only be uniquely Finley.