My mother knew I was gone before the sun came up. I could hear her howl and feel the fresh rain of her tears as I left the divine forest. I had to tell her, especially after she saw me talking to what she believed was a human. My reasons fell on deaf ears. Mother has always hated humans. She told me my father trusted a human once and was betrayed. Once the human saw what he was, their friendship ended, and the hunt for my father began. But I was convinced that not all humans were bad. I spent most of my days watching them from trees, bushes and of course standing in crowds. They couldn't see me, but I always wanted them to.
It started when I saw a boy, long ago, when I was little and unafraid. I watched him leave the village, even after his mother told him not to leave. She didn't notice him slip away, but I did. He was headed straight for the forest.
I tried to think about how I could save him. The divine forest was full of monsters and creatures that ate humans. I didn't want to see such a cute and innocent child die. He couldn't see me, so as I followed him, I thought of ways I could lead him back home. I couldn't talk to him, but I found that I could draw things in the sand, on the trees, and I could even throw flowers on the ground. He seemed amused by them, so I started making a flower path and marking the ground. He giggled and followed the flowers that seemed to jump from the stem and land before his feet. He tried catching them, but soon he was back to the village gate and safely home. He tried to explain what had happened to his mother.
My mother was furious.
"We don't reveal ourselves, and we don't help humans!" she shouted when I returned home.
"He couldn't see me." I said, "And I kept him from going deeper into the forest didn't I?"
My mother couldn't say anything to that, shook her head and told me to go hunting for dinner. She warned me not to help humans over and over again. Each time, she became more hysterical, but this time, hearing this wish, and the process I would go through, she was sad.
"Sakura, you've risked everything! If you become human, I will never be able to talk to you again. You will lose your ability to see me and hear me. Is that what you want?"
"I do love you mother. But I don't feel like I belong to the divine world. I want to try becoming human, and I want to be able to actually live alongside them."
"You can't have both worlds." My mother said, "Stay here with me. If your father were here, he would tell you that you are choosing humans over our own divine race."
"My father isn't here, mother." I said with a sigh, "We don't even know where he is, or if he'll ever come back."
"If you leave here, you won't be able to return."
"I know, but this is what I want. And I can still talk to you. Promise you'll visit me? At least once?"
She never answered me, and left our cave.
I decided that I would have to leave, and a tear slid down my cheeck, causing a light drizzle of rain. By the time I left the forest, it was a downpour. I heard my mother's howl and bowed to the forest hoping she could see me.
On the way toward the city, I saw a dandelion. Many human children wished on them and scattered the seeds to make their wish come true. I decided to try it, at least once.
"I wish I will see my mother again." I whispered, then blew the seeds into the wind.
I walked slowly toward the city, and realized that my outfit might freak people out. I found a clothesline, and a light pink dress with white lace sleeves. With the thought of paying the human back later, I changed quickly and found a tree where I hid my gumiho hanbok. I promised myself that I would come back, hopefully with the human who would accept me as I am, and always remember that before I was human, I was a gumiho. Not thinking of how my hopes could be too high. I bowed to the tree, asking it to keep my divine clothes well hidden, and made my way down the long grassy hill toward the city.