The next day Desiree went through life as if nothing had happened. She watched a debate at the dome and took notes for her next turn. She always took notes. Just letting something pass by when she could learn from it was not something she could allow herself to do.
She helped the fishermen with vigor, enjoying the water and congratulating them on their catch. But when time came for people to gather at the Meeting Place, Desire made a nearly unconscious decision to forgo her dress. She dressed for travel and put on the sandals she never wore, taking her small bag and throwing it over her shoulder.
Without actually thinking about why, she went in the opposite direction of the Meeting Place and decided to hike up to the Children's Home.
It was the place where she, and every other resident of the Island, had begun their lives. Happiness, sadness, pain, learning and growing all happened here. It was on top of the mountain in the center of the Island.
Many of the Island's people came and went from the Children's Home, but there was one person who had always been there, who had taught Desiree about the things she valued most in life. He was the reason she was a philosopher.
She climbed up a steep hill and passed the Children's Home without even looking at it. The building had been redesigned since she had lived there, and looked nothing like she remembered. But the home of her favorite teacher, a ten minute walk farther uphill, was the same as ever. It was small and sturdy, made of logs stacked together in a square formation.
Everyone coming of age had dinner at Aaron's home the night before their birthday. Desiree could still remember sitting around a table with Nahum while he talked to them about their futures. He had been calm, gentle and caring, as he always was, but had also made sure to tell them the hard things.
As she reached the door of the log house, Desiree hesitated. What was she doing? Why was she doing it? Had Nahum's words really affected her this much? What difference would seeing Aaron make? What would he say when she told him the things on her mind?
It didn't matter. She was already there, so she might as well speak with him.
Still hesitating, Desiree raised her hand and knocked on the door.