Sometimes, I thought that life was defined by the distance between what you wanted and what you needed. I especially felt this way at the pokémon fan club, where the solution to all of my problems came to me in the most unexpected instant, in the most unexpected fashion. Who knew that a human could solve what they had no knowledge about? Who knew that fate would bring such an opportunity to me? I surely didn’t. I just knew that I needed to move on from my past, and that I wanted to do it in the least painful way possible. The pokémon fan club had provided me with some insight I never would have thought of myself; it helped me realize that the distance I originally thought of as so far apart was as close as it could possibly be!
As Sasha and Marty brought us back to Sai, and as we shortly thereafter made our way to the gym (before Sai went completely insane over breaking the rules once again), I felt like I was at home. I felt as if I were in the forest and experiencing every part of nature as sharply all over again; this was how I knew my answer was correct.
There was something odd about the clouds moving in our direction that sent shivers down my spine. The few trees in the city swaying in the wind made me think they were speaking to me. There was a silence that emanated from the cracks in the pavement below my feet; it was a distant echo of the times that I was alone. The memories were muffled by all of our footsteps; they were only tearing loose in an attempt to break my shell. What would they find? I could only guess that they’d find my resolution of thinking it was best to stay away from my clan, and then, the memories would try to bring me back to the nightmare that I had already lived through once. Well, I had already vowed not to live there again—the dead, the result of my carelessness, hung below me, muttering to themselves in discontent. While I was deeply sorry and forever would be, I had to do this for myself.
And why did I believe evolving would help, anyway? The reason was simple, and almost agonizingly so. I would be getting rid of the one thing that every sentret of my clan cherished most about themselves.
I would be getting rid of my tail.
When all sentret were born, we held a ritual to bless it. It was a blessing that we hoped would bring about great growth and prosperity to this important part of the body. We even made a point to say that we didn’t want the sentret to evolve, just so they could keep this vital part of them forever. We always had contests to see whose was longer and therefore most efficient in helping the clan succeed—this was how Ari and me were chosen as the leaders. And if I were to lose my tail, no longer would the leader in me be telling me to stand on it and keep an eye out for others, to keep an ear out for danger, just like I had done so many nights in the forest, including the one that ruined me. I could instead look at the path right in front of me rather the one that was miles away.
And it just so happened that were heading to the gym at this very moment. The timing couldn’t have been any more spectacular.
I willed my heart to stop pounding, but it ignored me.
“You’re back again, huh? It’s been a while. You must have been doing a lot of training,” Whitney observed when we approached her for another battle.
“Something like that,” I said sarcastically. The revelation that I had come to felt even better knowing that Sai was here to witness it, but I wouldn’t admit it. I was still bitter toward him for leaving at all, and I was still curious as to where on earth he was. My next goal would have to be finding this out, since once I evolved, I would be prepared to deal with him and his emotions even more fully.
Sai glared at me for a moment, which just made me grin at him. “Yes, we’ve trained a lot for our rematch,” he lied.
“Well, we can start the battle whenever. We will again use two pokémon each,” Whitney said, pulling a pokéball out of her back pocket. She thrust it forward, revealing the same pink pokémon that had fought and won last time.
“Clefairy! I’m here!” it cried as it emerged.
“Can I fight?” Ezrem chimed in, pulling on Sai’s pant leg.
“No?” Sai said, as if the answer was obvious.
“Rude… Well, then, what about Rennio?” Ezrem said, now pulling on the elekid’s arm, making him panic in retaliation.
“I won’t do that to him again if he doesn’t want to fight,” Sai said firmly.
“On a more serious note,” I said, glaring at Ezrem and taking Rennio from him, “can I fight, Sai? We’re all so eager to fight for you, as you can see!”
“Kuiora first,” Sai said, just as firmly. “She asked me earlier. She wants a rematch against the clefairy, and I don’t blame her. But you can fight second, okay?”
“Okay,” I said after a few moments, thinking that this was acceptable. As strong as Kuiora was, I didn’t think she could beat both of the gym leader’s pokémon. They seemed far too powerful and their strategies were better than her’s, though perhaps she had come up with something in all of the time we had spent doing practically nothing near Ilex Forest.
“Yes! Thank you, Sai!” Kuiora cried ecstatically, taking her place in the middle of the arena. She stood her ground in a position that made me immediately question my previous beliefs about her. Maybe she really could beat both pokémon, and then, I wouldn’t have a chance to fight. Well, my trainer’s decision was already made. I would just have to wait it out. Of course, if I didn’t fight now, there would be other opportunities—but why would I want to wait any longer than I had to?
“Okay, Kuiora,” said Sai, though he didn’t appear to know what to say next; he was talking for the sake of talking. “Uh, just like we planned, all right? Start off with a bite attack!”
Though she appeared perplexed by his confusing words, she obeyed, and pounced at the clefairy with lightning speed. The clefairy didn’t even have time to move, nor did Whitney have time to call out an attack. Kuiora bit down on the clefairy’s arm, causing the fairy to cry out in pain.
“That’s so you can’t use your metronome attack this time! No electricity will be coming from those little paws,” the croconaw said through gritted teeth.
I laughed and marveled over Kuiora. How had she gotten so fast in a short amount of time? And not only was she faster, but she looked more determined. She looked… wiser, older. Just what had happened to her while Sai was gone? Whatever it was, I was suddenly glad that I didn’t have to worry about her being off on her own anymore. If I didn’t end up having a chance to fight against one of Whitney’s pokémon, this battle would at least still be worth it.
The clefairy tried to use its good arm to cradle the bad one, but its arm just wasn’t long enough to reach over to the other side. Its bad arm hung there, limp and slightly bleeding, apparently now unusable, just as Kuiora had intended.
“I see how it is,” the clefairy said, wincing.
“You do? Show me what you’ve got, then!”
“Clefairy, don’t let it get you down! Use growl!” Whitney ordered.
The clefairy obeyed. Though its voice clearly showed that it was in pain, it grunted and then let out a high pitched howl that made even Kuiora (and the rest of us) take a few steps backward. It was unfathomable to see such a tiny creature let out such a ferocious sound, but apparently it was possible. And the clefairy’s plan worked—it had regained its self-confidence, and was ready to fight again.
“Now use pound!” Whitney cried.
Though the clefairy had one arm out of commission, the other was still perfectly fine. The clefairy proved this by charging at Kuiora while she was out of commission herself. The fairy used its good arm to punch Kuiora in the stomach over and over, causing the croconaw’s feet to slide backward against the gym floor with each and every hit.
“Good! Try a doubleslap now. Keep her confused.”
The clefairy obeyed by jumping off of the ground. Keeping itself suspended, it was now slapping its paws into Kuiora’s face, making it move back and forth, back and forth. Kuiora was clearly shown to be dizzy when she tried to swipe away the clefairy with her own paws, but kept missing and swiping the air instead.
“Kuiora,” Sai said, uncertainty still in his voice, but a hint of excitement, too, “use water gun! It’s a perfect chance!”
And indeed it was. The croconaw immediately spat out a spray of water, hitting her target dead on, since the clefairy was right in front of her face, her mouth. As the stream of water grew longer, the clefairy was thrown further backwards, as it could not escape the flow. Whitney had to even move out of the way before getting hit, and the attack finally ended once the water gun and the clefairy struck the wall outside of the arena.
“The pokémon got knocked out of the arena,” Sai observed. “Does that mean Kuiora wins?”
“That would work in an official tournament,” Whitney said, smiling weakly, “but not here. Clefairy, you can get up, right?”
“Oh,” Sai said, clearly bummed that the battle would go on.
As Whitney had predicted, the clefairy was able to stand up, but just barely. After feeling the impact of a limp arm and the full force of a water gun attack done by an evolved pokémon, it looked like it was going to faint at any given moment. It had a lot of spirit, though—I could give it credit for that.
“All right, Kuiora,” Sai said. “One more water gun and you should win.”
Kuiora nodded. She thrust her head backward, preparing to shoot another stream of water. When she brought her head forward, a blast of water shot forth as well, heading straight for the clefairy.
“Clefairy, dodge it!” Whitney said, a hint of worry in her voice.
The clefairy dodged it in a peculiar way. Instead of moving out of the way, the clefairy suddenly grew… smaller. It happened in tiny increments. Every time the clefairy changed size, an afterimage was left behind, and it disappeared as quickly as it came. By the end of the move, the clefairy was hardly visible, and the water gun ran right above its head, missing completely.
“Clefairy, why did you use minimize? That may make you smaller, but it makes you hurt a lot more!” Whitney whined. Once again, she looked like she was about to run into the arena, but she restrained herself by keeping her arms folded above her head, and by spinning around on her heels.
“It was the only way I could dodge,” a voice even higher pitched than the previous growl said. “I can barely move…”
“Oh, dear,” Whitney said, placing a hand in front of her mouth dramatically.
“Well, bite isn’t going to work,” Sai said, “and water gun isn’t too likely to hit. Try… stomping on it? Knock it out once and for all!”
“Okay,” said Kuiora happily. She walked over to the clefairy casually, staring down at it when she reached her target. She smiled and lifted her foot, and at that moment, the clefairy started growing larger again, bit by bit. This time, afterimages of the tiny clefairy were present every time the fairy grew a little bigger. Just when the clefairy was about to reach its full capacity, Kuiora brought her foot down as hard as she could on the clefairy’s head, causing it to fall forward on its stomach with a thud.
The clefairy did not get up.
I thought that stomping on the clefairy was a little harsh, but I didn’t say anything. It was a legit pokémon attack, one that had occurred in several battles before today, and one that would continue to appear for all of eternity. The clefairy simply had to suffer the fate of being a pokémon, just like the rest of us. Just like I would be doing soon enough, I hoped.
And I did get that chance. It was surprising to all of us, but Kuiora stepped down from battling as soon as she defeated the clefairy.
“I got my revenge, just like I wanted,” was all that she said. But Kuiora—the one that I knew, anyway—wasn’t ever likely to turn down a battle. So this was entirely new. Not unwelcome, but definitely new. Still, I appreciated the notion, and I congratulated her and told her that I would win the battle.
“If you don’t, I’m still able to battle, right? I’ll pick up the pieces for you,” she said.
“Don’t worry. I never lose,” I said, feeling confident. In that moment, I honestly couldn’t remember a time that I had lost a battle—one that consisted of fighting, anyway. I was sure that it had happened, but it wasn’t going to faze me. Not today.
“What if you really do lose, though? It can happen! Even I’ve lost!”
“If I lose, then you’ll have witnessed the single most unlikely thing to ever happen,” I said, grinning. As much as I wanted to—in order to keep everything a surprise—I couldn’t hide my excitement. This was my answer, my salvation. And it was going to happen now, in front of Sai, in front of my—our—team.
I eagerly leapt out into the arena, waiting for my opponent to appear. After a few moments, though, it didn’t look like Whitney was going to send anyone out. I looked at her, confused, and saw that she was trying not to cry.
“My poor clefairy!” she lamented, burying her face in her hands, sobbing.
“Uh,” Sai said quickly, “Kuiora won fair and square. A gym leader should know that, yeah?”
“I do, don’t you worry. We can still win!” she said, now wiping her eyes. She recalled the clefairy and took out another pokéball out of her back pocket. “Go, Miltank!”
When it emerged, I thought that the miltank… Well, at least it lived up to its name. It was a cow, so it provided milk, and it looked like a tank. Yes, the thing was huge compared to me when I was on all fours. It was at least two feet taller, and considerably wider and thicker. It was mostly pink, though not as pink as the clefairy had been. Its belly was a cream color, and there were six well-placed protrusions on its belly that I thought were called utters, I wasn’t sure. Its ears and its feet were black, and it had a pink tail with a black ball on the end of it. I vaguely wondered if a miltank’s tail was as important to the species as it was to my sentret clan. The creature also had notable white horns on top of its head, which could have been important as well.
“Miltank!” it cried. Apparently, Whitney’s pokémon had a thing for announcing its name to the world when they approached a battle. Well, that was all fine and dandy, I thought, though I wondered if it ever confused Whitney into thinking she couldn’t understand pokémon—if she could even understand pokémon at all, anyway. The human species was certainly an odd one.
“Okay,” Whitney said. “We’re going to try to end this as quickly as possible. Miltank, use body slam!”
Ouch, I thought. If I thought that Kuiora’s stomping attack was bad, since she was a big pokémon herself and particularly powerful, then this was terrible. Not only was the miltank probably stronger than Kuiora, but it was at least twice her weight. I braced myself for an awful attack.
The miltank ran toward me, its utters and body fat flapping along the way. It was an amusing sight to see, but I couldn’t let my guard down already. I got down on all fours, frowning and yet reveling in how big of an adversary I had to face. Well, that was just fine—if my opponent had to look tougher and be larger than me, then it was giving me all the more reason to evolve in the middle of the battle.
When the miltank was close enough to me, I hopped in its direction, landing on its head and using its head to bounce forward and back onto the ground behind it. The cow took a few moments to stop its momentum, but when it did, it turned and looked at me furiously.
“How dare you evade my attack!” it said, charging at me once more. But I did the same thing again, successfully dodging. Not only was the opponent fearsome, but it had quite a temper as well. Very fortunate. The scene reminded me of heading into that lady’s house and trying to escape the broom that she so eagerly swung at me with.
“I’m just doing my job,” I said, teasing. I put my finger up to my head as if to say that was an obvious answer, and that the miltank was rather dull. The move only served to infuriate the cow further.
“Use your own body slam, Senori!” Sai ordered.
“My attack is just called slam, thank you very much,” I said defiantly. Still, I did the same thing that the miltank had been doing before, though I was much quicker due to my smaller size. This also meant that the miltank couldn’t jump over my head, or even move in any direction to get out of the way in time. My body blasted against the miltank’s, causing it to lose its breath as it was knocked backward. I noticed that I didn’t move him much, but the impact was still there, as the pokémon’s shoulders had drooped a little and it appeared less confident.
“Good job, good job. Use slam again,” commented Sai.
“Yes, yes,” I said, mimicking him. I didn’t say so, but I was glad for his praise, his attentiveness. It would, hopefully, serve me again sooner rather than later.
I prepared to use my slam attack once more when Whitney shouted, “Miltank, use defense curl!”
I should have known better than to attack the miltank when it was using defense curl, since it was one of my own moves that had proven to be very useful in the past. With the miltank’s size and weight, the effect was all the more difficult against my small frame. I was running to the cow when it was putting itself into a rolled up position, but I was going too fast to stop myself—one of the disadvantages to being fast. When my body collided with the miltank’s—just as before—this time it was me who was knocked backward. The miltank’s body was rock hard, and I now had a throbbing headache. I grabbed my head, knowing it was futile, but hoping it would stop soon.
“Okay, Miltank, I think it’s time for your signature move. Rollout!” Whitney commanded, and all hints of her crying self were gone.
“What’s rollout?” I asked myself, afraid to soon find out. Since we were both normal-type pokémon that hadn’t quite reached the threshold where we could learn the elemental moves discussed at the pokémon fan club, I was expecting for every ordered attack to be familiar and similar to my own. This, however, was completely new to me.
I waited for the miltank to obey, but it stayed in its ball-like position. It looked daunting just like that, but it was even more damaging to my self-confidence when it started rolling toward me, and at a remarkable speed I wasn’t anticipating from the larger pokémon. Stunned, I wasn’t able to dodge the rollout as it crashed into me, forcing my body to bend back so that I was leaning against my tail in an awkward position. The miltank continued to flatten my body as it tumbled over my stomach, my face, my ears. Out of every body part I had, the tail hurt the most. And it went without saying that I was sick of my tail hurting. It signified pride. It signified strength, and I was tired of pretending that it was an object I didn’t really own just because it was in a location that I couldn’t always see.
I had to evolve now, or never.
Up until now, I hadn’t noticed the urge that my body had had to evolve for ages, now. It was a peculiar sensation that other sentret in my clan had reported having in the past, but they never dared act on it. It was the sensation of feeling like you were about to burst out of your skin at any moment. Your eyes bulged at random times, wanting to pop out of your body and watch from the outside as the inside of you was turned completely inside out. Your ears were hearing sounds that didn’t really exist—it was the inner cry of the soul that they were hearing, but they didn’t know that. Only the heart knew, and I had kept it from reacting all this time, but no longer.
The miltank must have realized what I was about to do, no doubt, since the sensation was so strong within me. It had unfurled and been watching me carefully for the last several moments. It looked entirely unhappy, unpleased. Now, however, it was rolled back up into a ball, and it was heading straight toward me, faster than ever. I had time, though, since it was all the way on the other side of the arena.
“I’m not going to let you do that, darn it!” it said harshly.
“Senori, dodge it, and quick!” Sai said.
But I wasn’t planning on dodging it. No, I didn’t want to dodge it. I wanted to stop the attack dead in its tracks. I had to prove that strength lay hidden inside of me somewhere else, and not just in my tail. I had relied on it in battles and in other situations too many time in the past. I didn’t want that anymore.
I stood exactly where I was, facing the miltank, keeping my body as straight as I could, not allowing for any twisting or the desire to turn away. I thrust my arm and my paws forward, and waited.
“Senori, what are you doing? Dodge it!” called Sai.
“Nah,” I said, grinning and hoping he could see it. He would just have to trust what was to come. He seemed accustomed to trusting people, anyhow—almost too much. So I could follow myself, just this once, and then I would never obey another command from my trainer again.
Finally, the miltank reached me and collided with me once more. Instead of allowing myself to be flattened like a pancake yet again, I pushed at the big ball, keeping it suspended on the ground. I grimaced; I was using every ounce of my body, every ounce of my power, just to keep this miltank here. And for what? I wasn’t attacking it or causing damage, so this was simply delaying the battle further. I supposed that I was causing the miltank to waste some of its energy but I didn’t know if that would be enough.
“I… won’t let you… stop me!” I cried through gritted teeth. I couldn’t see miltank’s face as it rolled, but judging by the sudden increase in power at my words, I could tell that it was more angry than ever.
So I had proven to myself that I had strength somewhere else. It was an enlightening feeling, to say the least. Who knew that I had it in me? Now, I had to figure out how to give myself a chance to evolve. The miltank, given the chance, was going to try to stop me at any cost… I had to keep it distracted somehow, someway…
And in a battle, the best way to do that was to let the opponent pokémon recover from getting hurt.
I started letting the miltank push me back on purpose, letting it believe that it was finally beginning to overpower me. It was quite the opposite, but of course I didn’t say so—I was controlling the situation entirely. I looked behind me, seeing how close we were to the wall. It was still quite a stretch to get there, but I could manage. I let the miltank push me back even faster now, and the fury emanating from the cow vanished—it really thought that it was winning. When we were close enough to the wall, I moved my feet to the left and then jumped out of the way completing, allowing the miltank to smash into the wall, just as planned.
I didn’t waste any time after that. I let go of my inhibitions, and all of the inner energy inside of me that I had been keeping contained in a bottle of sorts. Through my eyes, I could see that I was beginning to glow. I didn’t dare look down anymore—my old body was old news. Surprisingly, the transition didn’t hurt at all. I could feel my body grow longer, more slender. My arms—which had felt sometimes like an odd pair of wings in the past—were now shaped like normal arms, with longer paws. My ears grew shorter, which pleased me as well, as maybe now my hearing wouldn’t be so sharp, as that had also been a prominent feature in my clan… I wondered how my insides were changing, but it didn’t matter, as long as everything significant was present. As far as my color went, I couldn’t tell if I’d still be the dark shade of brown that I had always been. I would have to look in a mirror later, or, preferably, have Sai tell me.
When the evolution was completely, I immediately looked behind me. My bushy, important tail was no longer there. Of course, I still had a tail—I was expecting this—but it was a longer tail. A natural tail. One that wasn’t blessed. And that was what mattered.
I looked at the miltank, who was staring at me vigorously. It had stood back up and kicked at the wall a few times while I was finishing. While I was fully happy with myself, it wasn’t happy for me at all.
“Senori,” Sai said. “You evolved! Wow…”
Ah, yes, and then there was the spectating crowd. I looked back at him, waving to him with my new arm, which felt awkward, but I was sure that I would get used to it. For now, he seemed content, and that was what counted to me.
“Miltank, I know things aren’t looking too good, but you can do it! Use rollout,” Whitney said. The hint of urgency had returned to her frail voice.
Miltank huffed and obeyed, returning to its ball-like form. As he headed toward me, I swished my tail around, reveling in the fact that it was a soft tail now, not one made of any substance at all.
“Use a new attack or something, Senori!” Sai said.
I chuckled. “Just because I evolved doesn’t mean that I forgot all of my attacks or anything,” I said, also reveling in the fact that my voice was the same.
All the while, the miltank was charging toward me once more. Yes, I was treating the miltank like a joke, now. I knew there was no hope for it.
When it was close enough to take seriously, I focused my senses. While my hearing was still intact, everything else had enhanced. I started intently at the miltank. When I thought it was best to perform a body slam, I did so—and my prediction was dead on. I hit the miltank with the full force of my new body directly on its head, stopping not only the rollout, but the entire pokémon itself. I returned to my original position, watching the effects take place. The miltank was grabbing its head and going around in circles, dizzy and confused.
“All right,” Whitney said. “That’s enough. A gym leader knows when she’s… lost…” Before she even finished her sentence, she had already burst into tears. Her sobbing echoed throughout the entire gym, it was so loud.
“Ah,” Sai said sheepishly. “I don’t know… I’m sorry! I didn’t expect to win! Well, I was hoping to win, of course, but I didn’t want to make you cry! Can I tell you some jokes or something?”
“Jokes won’t work, you jerk!” she cried as she returned the miltank to its pokéball. I watched it as it was immersed in a flash of red, thanking it for its time and effort silently.
Next, Whitney pulled one last thing out of her back pocket. She peered down at it in her hand for a moment before she flung it in my direction. It landed on the ground in front of me, so I picked it up in my new paws. The object was shaped like a golden diamond with silver edges. The gym badge certainly lived up to Goldenrod City’s expectations, I thought.
I ran up to Sai—rather clumsily, I must say—and handed it to him.
“I believe it’s your win, not mine,” he said cheerfully, petting me on the head, “but I suppose I can hold onto it for you.”
“If the miltank had made me use any body parts that I couldn’t control yet, I would have been doomed. You flatter me,” I said just as eagerly.
“Jerk,” Whitney said again.
I looked at the others, gouging their reactions. Atis looked proud, though he didn’t say anything and kept himself behind everyone else. Kuiora didn’t appear as jealous of the attention as I thought she’d be. Rennio was beyond relieved that I took over his fighting position—when our eyes met, I could tell that he was saying thank you.
As for Ezrem…
“How about a good math joke?” he said. “That always cheers everyone up. So, say this gym leader and her opponent have two pokémon. The opponent loses no pokémon, while the gym leader loses both. How many pokémon does the gym leader have now?”
“Shut up,” I said, but nothing could ruin my mood. My voice betrayed me; I was trying not to laugh.
We had not only won a gym badge from Whitney, but money. The first thing we did with our money was buy a new backpack, new food, new water, more clothes for Sai. He spent it all in one place, as usual—back to his old self. The second thing was purchased was a night in the pokémon center to celebrate. It was a major step up from being out in the wild, I had to admit.
Back at the pokémon center, Sai insisted on the idea that the badge was entirely mine.
“But what about me?” Kuiora cried. So she was jealous after all, I thought.
“Senori evolved! After all this time. I thought it was never going to happen,” he said. “Your badge is the one you won in your own gym battle.”
“That badge is lost, thanks to Senori,” Kuiora pouted.
“Sorry,” I said. “We can share this badge. You earned it, too. And next time, the spotlight can be yours.”
“Deal,” she said, satisfied.
All of us—except for Sai—sat in a circle on the carpeted floor, passing the gym badge around and indulging in its presence. That wasn’t the only thing that I was thinking about, though.
Sai was sitting on the bed, looking happy yet strained at the same time. Wasn’t he glad that we had won? Wasn’t he glad that we could move on to the next part of journey? I got on all fours—finding this position much more preferable to standing on my tail, as if I were constantly watching for danger—and went over to Sai’s new backpack. I dug through it, looking for something. When I finally found it, I wobbled over to the boy, and handed it to him.
It was the bottle of medication that he had brought back with him Atis had told me about it, and I agreed it was peculiar… but not unwelcome.
“Won’t you stay with us this time?” I said. “We were worried when you left...”
Sai took the bottle slowly, turning it over in his hands for a very, very long few moments. He looked at me, smiling sadly, and he patted me on the head.
“I’ll try to stay,” he said simply.
And that was what I wanted. This Sai—the loyal one, the excited one, the happy one—was the one we loved and wanted to stay with us. Though he was reckless and his emotions ran higher compared to all of the other people and pokémon I’d met, it wasn’t anything that we couldn’t deal with. Yes, this was the Sai I wanted to protect and serve at the same time. This was the Sai that, with my new form, I wanted to continue growing as a leader with.
That night, when we were all sleeping, with Atis on the top bunk and with everyone else on the floor, I went up to be on the bed with Sai. He just smiled at me, said his mind was racing, as usual, and he couldn’t sleep… as usual. I didn’t say a word; I rolled myself into a tiny ball and curled up next to his side, silently telling him that I hoped that he meant what he said what he told me he would stay with us.
It was the most comfortable that I had ever been.