We’re about to go home now… However, I wanted to stop by one place in particular first…
“Let’s go, Ren! Before the mall closes!”
I ran towards it… Just in front of a tube leading to another building and on the highest floor… Hanging over an opening to the bottom floor. This sculpture was of a flock of birds. Each bird had a black neck and head with a white spot on their faces — their cheeks maybe? They also had white parts under their chins and a light brown body. It was also white where their bottoms were.
As I was awing at the sculpture, Ren walked next to me.
“The art piece of a flock of geese… This is the one you were interested in on our first trip here.”
“Yeah… It’s so cool…”
I reminisced on that day… I was very impressed by the openness of this place. And there was that board — in hindsight, it’s laughable that a yelled at it and almost punched it!
“You know Ren, geese are pretty amazing creatures.”
“Oh? How so?”
I smiled warmly.
“Well, there are a lot of things they can do. They can walk… They can swim… They can fly…”
“And speaking from personal experience, they are also very aggressive.”
And since I’m reminiscing about my first time coming here, I can’t help but think even further back. We went to Grenge Park… That place behind a great art museum and next to an art school with unique architecture. That white box with different polka-squares being suspended by giant pencil canyons…
Ren suddenly wrapped his arm around me… But I did not bat an eye — instead, I moved closer to him.
“Yeah, they are aggressive…”
We both chuckled.
My mind also flashed back further to when I first ran away… I had an intense feeling that I couldn’t be useful to Ren because he wasn’t demanding anything… But really, I didn’t want to do what I was told I was the best at. Now, I don’t think I have to worry about serving…
And then, I recalled the time before that. Nothing of note really happened in between, so I remembered the first time I met Ren. He was so stern and serious… I was so cringy and playful. I tried seducing him because that felt like the only thing I could do at the time… but it wasn’t. I don’t have to act all corny with Ren anymore…
“But you know Camryn, I think they’re also pretty amazing because they’re so aggressive.”
“It’s more so the reason they turn that way.”
I wasn’t following…
“Um… You have experience, right? Remember the context of their aggressiveness.”
I looked down for a few seconds.
“Well, they act that way when I get near the group.”
“You said ‘the group,’ as in multiple.”
Oh… I think I get it now.
“They’re impressive because they’re a species that stays in groups. Now, geese don’t have the level of intelligence that humans have, but they still stay in groups. Animals more so stay in groups for the sake of protection…”
“And since they’re a group…”
Ren stepped away and pointed at me.
“They can be classified as a family! They protect and have responsibility for each other.”
Yeah, it makes sense. Every time I try to get near a goose, it starts honking at me. Sure, it’s to protect itself, but it’s also to protect the herd… To protect its eggs… To protect its family…
I started laughing.
“Ren, that’s so cheesy! Ah, you’re making things uncomfortable…”
But after a few seconds, I turned to him and smiled greatly.
“You know Ren, I can’t help but tell you this — thank you!”
I bowed deeply.
“Thank you for taking me in on that day… Thank you for giving me a place to live… Thank you for giving me food and water… Thank you for supplying me with a job… Thank you for letting me meet new friends… And…”
I raised my head and smiled deeply at Ren.
“Thank you for saving me! My… hero!”
I’m so grateful for Ren. With him, I won’t go back. I won’t go back to my hectic life of living on the streets and swindling strangers… I won’t go back to my hectic life with adults that dehumanize me… I won’t go back to my hectic life with adults that pretend to care about me… I won’t because Ren won’t allow it.
Ren returned a smile — so appealing and welcoming — and he wrapped his arms around me, lowering his voice.
“H-Hero is a bit much, don't you think? But of course.”
This hug… It feels warm… It feels comfortable… It feels calming… And I can feel Ren’s feelings. He intends to make me feel relaxed. He intends to love me. He intends to heal me…
Ren is genuine…
“Come, Ren, let’s take a selfie together!”
“Huh? But we live so close to this sculpture… But I guess it wouldn’t hurt…”
And so, as we posed together I took my phone out and held it out.
Yeah… Things feel so different now. I truly believe that I’ve evolved — this is a new chapter in my life — another book is the series — another long-awaited season in that show… I really can’t help but feel overjoyed. And I hope this feeling doesn’t fade…
Because I... turned over a new leaf.
Intentionally or not, either way, I couldn’t be happier.