I am the town freak. As a Suna citizen, I am supposed to hate the boy everyone else hates, right? I have to hate Sabaku No Gaara in order to fit in. But the problem is... I don't. I can't. I've tried and failed at a task that appears to be so simple. I could have just pretended to hate him... but then I would have been lying to him, everyone around me, and myself. If you cannot be honest with yourself, then you are truely pathetic. That's my motto.

I used to have friends. Not many of them but I had them here or there. When they would talk of Gaara, I would remain silent. But somehow, they always found out how I really felt about Gaara. I don't know... it was either my sketchbook with numerous drawings of him... or my Gaara doll that I made all by myself. Either way, friends came and they left as enemies.

Because of my little hardships, I know a little of how he feels, always forced to be alone. Trying to get someone, anyone, to stay by him. That's what he used to do when he was little. When he was six... when I was five. I had just moved and I watched how everyone ran when he tried to give them their ball back. He had an amazing ability with the sand. He tried to make them come back. He didn't want to be alone. Those boys and girls were so scared, they clawed at the ground in a feeble attempt to escape his sandy clutches. In the end... someone close to him with silvery-grey hair and eyes of warm slate blocked an unintentional attack and his arms were ripped up by the force. Gaara watched as the man defended the people and scolded him. And then he walked away in sorrow. It was my turn to watch as tears swam down my face. I wanted to yell at those terrified boys and girls. Tell them that he didn't want to hurt them. Tell them that he just didn't want to be alone anymore. No one deserved to be alone forever... but they had signed to him that fate... and it was crushing my heart indefinately.

Eight years have passed since that day. Two since the Chuunin Exams/attempted raid at Konoha and the death of their Hokage. They have a new Hokage now, a woman named Tsunade. She is said to be both a powerful fighter... and a wonderous healer. Chiyu has rid Gaara of the Shukaku, the raccoon demon that was tucked inside his body before birth. But people still fear him and his heart is not enlightened with the kindness that is everywhere. It's as if he has a barrier... a wall that he himself put up since the days that silver haired man betrayed him. I think Gaara's hiding from what could be... because it hadn't been yet. He doesn't know what it is like... and that makes him afraid.

As a thirteen-year-old girl named Chikage with beautiful lilac eyes and reddish brown hair, I pray to the gods and goddesses of our past-- please help me... show Gaara that he doesn't need to fear emotion. Please help me break that barrier and become a bridge to help him see that not everyone will run from him just because he looks scary to them.

Because to me... he is handsome. His eyes are like stones of pure torquise framed in black onyx. His hair is as red as a blooming rose and his kanji-scar is a mark of beauty. If only everyone can see their 14-year-old monster the way that I see him. I carry my sketchbook everywhere because I always end up seeing Gaara in a new light... and I love to capture him just as I see him. A few times, people have teased me and laughed at my "stupid" sketches. But I guess I consider their laughter as "applause" in a cruel form.