Chapter 25:

Camryn: Painful Past 02 Part 2

New Leaf!

Ren was right — it was rather crowded here on the subway train.Bookmark here

In a place with so many people, I got a better sense of the diversity in the city of Tronito. And big surprise, my initial observations were right — obvious sarcasm. There were many different kinds of people. Some were kids, some were teens like me, some were adults like Ren, some were elders. I could also depict some groups among this crowd. There were families, there were groups of friends, there were some couples, and there were people of the same ethnicity hanging together which was understandable. Speaking of ethnicity, there was a lot of diversity. To be honest, it was a bit harder to pinpoint things like specific countries of origin, but the region was easier to find due to skin colour. The last observation I could make was that there were many people of different wealth classes. I wasn’t entirely sure who was a part of which because my observations were mostly based on clothing — I mean, someone could be rich but still wear cheap clothing, and vice versa.Bookmark here

As I was thinking, I was brought to attention when I stumbled due to the train suddenly stopping. Bookmark here

“Woah!”Bookmark here

I closed my eyes to brace for contact with the ground.Bookmark here

What was that? We’re underground so I doubt it was something big… Maybe just an engine hiccup?Bookmark here

I fell forward but I was caught before I could fall to the ground. I kept my eyes closed but I was called.Bookmark here

“Camryn, are you okay?”Bookmark here

Ren?Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah…”Bookmark here

Was I being held up by him? I slowly opened my eyes, and sure enough, I was leaning on him. His left hand was holding onto the handle above us and he was cradling me with his right arm. I quickly broke out.Bookmark here

“Oh, s-sorry, Ren.”Bookmark here

“No, it is fine.”Bookmark here

Yeah, probably just an engine hiccup. I slowly turned my head to face Ren. He was… huh? He was still holding onto the handle above us with his left hand, but he moved his right hand to cover his left shoulder. I’ve heard that some people get nosebleeds when they are sexually excited, but buddy, that ain’t your nose. Besides, I doubt he’s sexually attracted to me. Also, he did the same thing last night when he tried to cheer me up. Hm…Bookmark here

“Ren, is your left shoulder okay? Did you hit it?”Bookmark here

“Oh, this? Do not worry. It is just a minor injury I got from work.”Bookmark here

“Oh…”Bookmark here

Woah, sounds like one hell of an office job. But an injury that lasted for a minimum of two days? Eh, that sudden jolt probably just did something...Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Grenge Park… This was indeed the place I was referring to. It looked the same as it did during that day.Bookmark here

“Wow, this park is so pretty!”Bookmark here

I was at a section where the stone brick road split into two directions when Ren walked next to me. I pointed to the white box with black squares supported by giant pencil crayons.Bookmark here

“Ren, what’s that? It’s a university, right?”Bookmark here

“That is right. That is NCAD University. That stands for National College of Art and Design.”Bookmark here

“I knew it — it’s an art school!”Bookmark here

I felt a little proud of myself.Bookmark here

“But why does the name have college and university in it?”Bookmark here

“Well, in the school’s history, they wanted to focus more on academics than art. To better reflect its status as a university, there was a name change.”Bookmark here

I see… With such a crazy structure, it seems like a fun school.Bookmark here

I moved my finger to the right of the university and pointed at the mansion.Bookmark here

“Ren, that’s an art museum, right? It’s so fitting that this museum is near this art university…”Bookmark here

“Correct, that is the National Art Gallery.”Bookmark here

“Cool…”Bookmark here

Hey, maybe the interior is cooler than the name.Bookmark here

But sightseeing isn’t really the reason why I came here.Bookmark here

We walked around the park. The main thing that I told Ren to look at were the benches. I left a purple suitcase near one of them — it was my stuff.Bookmark here

After a few minutes — actually, it was probably just around five — I found it. Under a bench was my suitcase… my stuff. Huh…Bookmark here

Bookmark here

I looked around this park. With the fascinating structures that surrounded me, the overall vibe given by this park, and the cool temperature, I felt… comfortable. Bookmark here

But along with feeling comfortable, I felt… something else. It wasn’t that cold, but I was freezing. There were people on late strolls around this park, but I felt lonely. There were cool buildings to look at, but I felt bored…Bookmark here

But most notably, nothing was happening, but I felt scared. It’s so weird, isn't it? Why do I feel uneasy? This city doesn’t seem to have a high crime rate, and even though it was dark, nothing of note was happening in this park. And even if something were to happen, there were people and houses with people in them to witness the event; no one would dare to do something illegal in a public area. I was nervous — I wanted to stay on this bench and not do anything.Bookmark here

I looked down and saw my suitcase at my feet. I think this suitcase was expensive. It was a cool shade of purple and it was medium-sized. The exterior was made of hard and protective plastic and the inside had a lot of pockets to store things in. The bottom had swivel wheels for easy movement, there was a handle on the side to carry it, and there was a longer handle on the top to pull in when it’s on wheels. Anyone would feel pleased if they had a high-quality suitcase, but personally, I didn’t feel that way — I felt the opposite and those feelings were amplified. This suitcase contained all of my belongings — my clothes, textbooks and notebooks, and some snacks. This would be advantageous, but to me, it was a nuisance.Bookmark here

This was why I didn’t like thinking — negative thoughts would infiltrate my mind. I don’t know why, but my mind never gravitates to anything positive.Bookmark here

I buried my head into my lap.Bookmark here

Six… Six months, huh? I’ve been on this “journey” for six months… Actually, I don’t know whether I can consider this a journey. But six whole months of living like this — living alone on the streets and surrounded by these feelings. Even whenever I intrude on someone else’s home I am alone. Bookmark here

Six… Six months, huh? I desperately wanted to look at the bright side, but I never could — I guess my eyes have adjusted to darkness… I desperately wanted to think “Wow, I’m so persistent for living like this for six months!”, but I could never praise my own strength...Bookmark here

Instead, I found myself thinking about the time. Six months, huh? Nothing’s changed over these six months! I’ve felt alone for six months! I’ve been crushed by my shame and guilt for six months! I’ve never been wanted for six months! It’s hopeless!Bookmark here

I covered my head with my hands in a defensive position.Bookmark here

Hopeless… Why should I keep my faith? I’ve worked hard, but no results come! I… I just want to give up. Can I do that? Is it okay if I just lie down and die? Please! It hurts…Bookmark here

“Gah!”Bookmark here

I screamed and kicked my suitcase away with all my strength. I watched as it rolled down the stone brick path and fell on its side upon reaching the grass. I stared at the fallen suitcase for a few seconds.Bookmark here

Shortly after I resumed my previous defensive position… This time, my fingers were digging into my neck.Bookmark here

“Are you okay Miss?”Bookmark here

I forgot I’m in a public area… Shoot, I messed up. I shouldn’t look distressed when others are around — it’ll just cause them to worry needlessly. That’ll cause me to worry...Bookmark here

I smiled and raised my head — it’s a good thing that I’m not crying. There was a man standing beside me. I’m guessing that he’s in his thirties. He had thick glasses and he was rather skinny.Bookmark here

“Woah, there’s a handsome man here. How may I help?”Bookmark here

I spoke cheerfully to him… I’m really sorry that you’re my victim…Bookmark here

The man was confused.Bookmark here

“T-Thanks… Um, it seems you kicked your suitcase away. Is everything okay?”Bookmark here

“Oh, thank you so much for worrying about me. But that was nothing… I just-”Bookmark here

“Daddy!”Bookmark here

Nearby, a small and young-sounding voice called to us. The man and I turned our heads to look at the source. Walking towards us was a young girl and a beautiful woman with blond hair.Bookmark here

I turned to the man.Bookmark here

“Oh, is this perhaps your, um, wife and child?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, that’s right.”Bookmark here

He kneeled down to catch his daughter who was running towards him.Bookmark here

“Hey sweetie, I’m back from the washroom.”Bookmark here

Wow, they seem to have a really great relationship… I’m… I’m happy for them. Seriously.Bookmark here

The little girl pointed at me.Bookmark here

“Daddy, who’s this?”Bookmark here

“Oh, this is just someone I saw sitting here.”Bookmark here

The man looked at me.Bookmark here

“Everything good?”Bookmark here

I see… he already formed relationships. I… I can’t seduce him. I don’t want to ruin this genuine love…Bookmark here

I smiled and waved dismissing hands at him. I no longer had the goal of alluring him so I changed my voice’s tone to sound normal.Bookmark here

“Oh, no, everything is okay. Um, see… I just, uh… had a little fight with my b-boyfriend over texting…”Bookmark here

The man nodded.Bookmark here

“Oh, okay… Ah, young love…”Bookmark here

He gave me a thumbs-up.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry kid! This fight will just lead you two to becoming closer! Er, or that’s what they all say…”Bookmark here

Holding his daughter’s hand, he stood up.Bookmark here

“See ya kid.”Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah, see ya.”Bookmark here

I watched as they walked towards the woman with blond hair. The woman smiled at them.Bookmark here

“Hi dear! It’s getting late, so should we get going?”Bookmark here

“Sure!”Bookmark here

The man rubbed his daughter’s head.Bookmark here

“We wouldn’t want this little one to be tired for school, huh?”Bookmark here

“D-Daddy!”Bookmark here

“C’mon little bird, there are just three more days — you’re almost done!”Bookmark here

The man gave a small kiss to his daughter’s forehead and his wife’s lips.Bookmark here

I shouldn't watch so I turned my head. They must love each other, right? It was just a small exchange, but I could feel the immense level of affection they have for each other. It warmed my heart… Honestly, I was a little jealous of them. Hm… What would happen if I joined them? No, I probably shouldn’t have that fantasy. Besides, I know I’ll just wreck everything if I did…Bookmark here

When they were gone, I got up from the bench and walked towards my suitcase. I brought it back to the bench and put it under it.Bookmark here

I sighed…Bookmark here

“Why do I even keep this around?”Bookmark here

After muttering this, I turned around and walked away, leaving my suitcase there.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

I gave a bitter smile.Bookmark here

Memories of that day came flooding into my head. I left my suitcase here because there was no point in keeping it. Six… Six months, huh? Since I’ve been like this for six months, I determined that there was no point in fighting. But now…Bookmark here

“Camryn, did you find what you were looking for?”Bookmark here

I turned around and saw Ren walking towards me.Bookmark here

I nodded and smiled.Bookmark here

“Sure did.”Bookmark here

I pulled it out from under the bench and presented it to Ren.Bookmark here

“See, these are my belongings.”Bookmark here

“I see. So, what is in this suitcase?”Bookmark here

“Oh Ren, it’s kinda rude to go rummaging through a woman’s belongings.”Bookmark here

“Oh, s-sorry…”Bookmark here

“Ah, don’t worry. I’m just teasing you!”Bookmark here

“I-I see.”Bookmark here

Hah, I thought Ren was a serious and angry man that accepted no BS, but he’s actually just terribly awkward. It’s kinda cute — I guess looks can be deceiving…Bookmark here

“Mission success! Shall we go? I’ll show you some of my things when we get back.”Bookmark here

“Sure.”Bookmark here

With that, we left the cool park with the two magnificent structures nearby. Bookmark here

Since retrieving my suitcase, I’ve been thinking about the family I saw on that day… Maybe I’ll get to experience a similar type of bond that they have one day...Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.