I woke up in a van which took us to a different world. Here the people looked different and the landscape was totally unfamiliar. It seemed from the look ofthings, that other people like Zach and me were being given to strangers after standing on a stage.
I was grateful that Zach managed to keep us together but sorry that he got hurt for it. I was especially reminded of the concept of Pain when the nasty people hit him again and again, though the Pain was more inside me than anything else.
A long time after we'd been taken to this new place, we were put in a new van and taken to a place where there were lots of green plants on levels like steps in the ground.
We were led into a mansion by an extrememly chatty guy who spoke in a strange way and then into a large room containing lots of mats made out of some kind of plant.
It was very nice to sleep against Zach. I seemed to care about him a lot. In fact, he reminded me of a distant time in the past when I had looked after a puppy. Before the Fear and Pain had dominated my life. When my mum had shown me what the word 'love' meant...
We did lots of work in the house, but I was happy because I was always allowed to do it with Zach. He always spoke to me with a what-a-smile-would-sound-like tone and gave me lots of little cuddles, even when I didn't really need them. I still didn't trust anyone else but opening myself to one person was enough for me, and it was kind of special that Zach and I had something which I had with no one else.
One afternoon, we had some time off from the work and were sitting underneath a very nice-looking tree with pink blossoms. As they occasionally fell in slow-motion around us, I felt calm and totally free of Fear and Pain. People weren't so horrible here: they only shouted at us if we did something wrong, which we rarely did. While Zach was gazing out across what he called a 'plantation', I bravely closed the gap between us and kissed him on the cheek. It was something my mother had often done to me, although I had been aware of it before it was about to happen. It was a symbol of trust and of a good relationship. I thought it would be nice to show Zach I was very happy in his company. Zach turned to me with a look of surprise on his face.
"Did you just kiss me?" he asked.
"Yes," I said, slightly confused by his reaction.
But Zach allayed my suspicions by smiling a very big smile and kissing me on the lips, something my mum hadn't done in quite the same way as this. I felt heat spread in my chest and found that you could kiss in a way that was similar to the motions of stroking someone. When Zach broke away, I found myself grinning broadly. He grinned back but there was something different in his eyes. It was more than simple not-Fear-not-Pain. I couldn't quite understand it but I guessed it was similar to how someone would feel if they were imagining a kiss like the one we had just shared and making it even nicer.
I kissed him for a short time again before we headed back to the house to do more work. Before we entered the mansion, Zach hugged me against him, kissing my forehead and making me feel very very happy inside.
"I love you," he said, gazing deep into my eyes.
Ah, that was the perfect thing to say.
"I love you too," I replied. And small memories of concepts similar to love returned to me, escaping the vile oppression of Fear and Pain.