Ib gazed at the man curiously.
At one point in time, she had walked around the entire span of the museum. When she decided to backtrack—for whatever odd reason she felt was necessary—the only change she noticed was that one man in particular had changed places.
From what Ib could remember, he had been in front of The Hanged Man painting. Now he was standing in front the large statue of the red rose.
Ib shouldn't have found it strange that he moved positions; it's a large art gallery, the point is to check out all the different paintings and such. But in the span of a few minutes, this man was the only person that was in front of something else.
Had it really only been a few minutes that passed? For some reason, it seemed that there was a gap in Ib's memory, but she couldn't understand why.
She made the impulsive choice to approach the man, who was rather tall and wearing raggedy clothes.
"Oh!" the man exclaimed when he spotted Ib next to him. "Hello, young miss. Is something wrong?"
Ib asked the man what he was looking at.
"Oh, this?" he pointed to the rose statue and chuckled. "It's the Embodiment of Spirit. It's a very nice statue. It sticks out to me for some reason. I just can't stop gazing at it…"
When Ib faced the statue, she felt mesmerized by it as well. There was something about it that made her feel…good. Happy. Alive? What did this statue mean to her?
"Well, miss, I should get going. Goodbye!" the man waved to her and began to walk off. Ib watched him walk away and felt her chest tighten. For a split second, she felt an urge to call out to the man, but she didn't even know his name.
Why did she feel this way?
"Ib!" her mother suddenly called out to her, passing right by the man. "There you are! Have you looked at all of the paintings yet?"
Ib looked down and shook her head, even though she already had.
"Well, would you like to look at them with me?"
Ib nodded and began walking in the opposite direction with her mother. She peeked over once to see if she could still see the mysterious man, but he was already out of sight. She averted her gaze forward and slipped her hands into her pocket, her fingers grazing something she didn't remember being there before. She pulled it out and her eyes widened.
It was a piece of candy.