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A Place to Belong

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Beneath the sparkling blue waters of Tahiti, in a reef full of animals of every color, lived one very special creature unlike any other. Elle is my name and boy am I different. With spikes instead of scales and ears larger then my body, I am my own species, a pufferphant that is. A pufferphant, if you may not know, has the greatest sense of hearing and smell in the entire ocean. Born as an experiment in a Tahitian science laboratory, my DNA was supposed to combine two fish, but when elephant got confused with eel, things went downhill. The scientists were scared of their creation, a fish with an elephant’s ears and trunk and puffer fish spikes, and dropped me into the deep blue waters. Since then I have made my home in the lively cave, waiting for the day when I would find a place where I fit in.
Gliding through the crystal clear water on an early spring day, I spotted something up ahead. Every morning I would go on a swim and it seemed like I swam the entire ocean, but this morning a new place appeared. Coming closer I realized it was a city! Full of fish of every color of the rainbow, I felt as though I had finally found my way home. As I stared in awe at this majestic city, one fish in particular stopped and stared at me. It was not in ordinary fish but a seahorse with black and white stripes, different like me.
“Elle Wake up!” said this creature, “It’s time to wake up your going to be late!’
“What? I do not understand.”I responded to it, but then in an instant with a single shake the city had disappeared and staring down at me was Angie, the angelfish that shared the same cave as me.
“You need to wake up,” Angie shouted again and, like many of the other fish in our reef, she did not seem to like me because I was so different.
“Alright,” I said to her realizing something very important, “I will be right behind you. Go ahead so you won’t be late!”
Leaving with a grunt, Angie swam out of the cave for school. Going over what had just happened; I had realized that once I woke up from that dream, I had wished with all of my heart that I had really found a city like that.
“Am I this unhappy about living here?” I thought to myself. “If I am treated like an outsider in a place that won’t embrace who I am, I cannot live like this!”
At that moment, I decided that I would not be following Angie to school that day and I packed up my belongings. With the goal of finding friends, a family and adventure, I hit the open ocean. Not knowing or caring about where I wanted to find myself, I headed west.
Swimming for what felt like years, my fins ached and I decided to stop and rest. Finding a nice place to put my fins up, my mind began to wander as I enjoyed the silence of the ocean.
“What if I never find a place that I can call home, where fish like me for who I am, where I feel comfortable in my own skin?” I wondered to myself.
With this thought, an uneasy feeling swept over me. All of the sudden I felt as though someone was watching me, waiting for me to make a move, like a predator watching its prey. Looking all around, I saw nothing, but the feeling was still there. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw it coming, a tiger shark. Staring at me with his deep black eyes the shark was racing toward me full speed ahead. I had already made it this far and although I was tried I was not ready to give up quite yet, so I took off. Zipping this way than that, I dodged every bite and every flick of the shark’s tail. Running low on energy, I spotted a small opening in an underwater ridge.
“The perfect escape!” was all I could think to myself at that moment.
Being careful not to burst out my spikes as I shimmed through the hole, I wrapped my ears around my body and slid right through, just in time to miss the deadly last bite of the tiger shark. With one last trumpet from my trunk, the tiger shark looks at me in and odd way and swims away.
“I did it! What everyone thought was my weaknesses became my strengths and I saved myself!” I exclaimed.
Suddenly I felt a rush of water against my back, turning around I saw a bright light and heard the sound of laughter. Wanting to know what it was, I swam slowly toward the light at the back of the cave.
Emerging from the cave, I saw a city glowing with life. It was the city from my dream. My mind went numb and all I could think about was how amazing everything was. Creatures just as different as me swam through the warm waters and to my right I saw the same seabra, zebra striped seahorse, as I had seen in my dream. I raced over to her as fast as I could and asked her where I was. She said I was in Fiji, the land of diversity.
Looking up to the sky, I swam in circles as happiness overcame my entire body. Then with a little prick, I looked toward the ground. At the bottom of my ear was a little spiky shell. I picked it up and in an instant out crawled a hermit crab.
“I’m sorry,” I said to this little crab as I was putting him down. “I didn’t know that anyone was in there! My name is Elle. I just got here and I’m just trying to find my way around.”
“You are perfectly fine,” he said to me. “Welcome home Elle, welcome home!”
With that, I have lived happily ever after and as I returned to my old home in Tahiti, only for a visit, I showed them that they too could change and embrace the differences of everyone around them.





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