I love it when a schol has an assembly first thing in the morning.
For two reasons. Reason number one: no one notices it if you are running late. Reason number two: it means a smaller school day.
Okay, three, I lied. Reason number three: you can totally skip an assembly and no one will ever know!
All three of these reasons are why I wasn't so worried when I pulled by old Chevy truck into the school's studen lot. My morning freak out had simply been the fact that I was still groggy from sleep and had over-reacted. Grabbing my school bag, I headed towards the back entrance. Unfortunately, reason number one didn't apply to me right now.
I whipped my head around, searching for the voice. I finally saw him, leaning in the shadow of a tree. I smiled and skipped over to him.
"Hi, Adrian," I said, putting my arms around him.
"Hey, baby." After a quick kiss, Adrain pulled back to smile at me. His chocolate hair fell just over his aqua eyes, which were crinkled due to his smile. "Want to explain why you're so late?"
"I am not so late," I said. "Only a little."
"Come on," he said, taking my hand. "There's an assembly and I have no desire to sit in a hot gym filled with hundreds of other people, listening to a bunch of band geeks play our lame fight song."
"I'm a band geek," I said, laughing.
"You're a flag girl, there's a difference."
"Band geeks, flaggets, is there really?"
Adrian smiled and led me to the school's courtyard, where we sat down on our bench.
"Are you okay?"
I ignored his question, and stared at the rose bush that occupied the space to my right. The roses were beginning to wilt, and had a strange beauty to it. I reached my hand towards the bush, wanting to run my fingers over the soft silk of it's peatles.
A hand reached out and grabed my outstretched one. "Here," Adrian said. "Let me."
Adrian reached over and with delicate movements, plucked the rose from it's stem. "Any reason you wanted this."
"I don't know," I said. "It's just so beautiful."
"Well, here." He took my hand, opened it, and gently placed the rose in my palm. "Now, are you gonna answer my question?"
"Maybe," I said, staring at the rose. I turned to look at Adrain, his eyes were gazing intently at me.
"Aria, are you okay? I mean, with everything that's happened --"
"It's been over a year," I said, returning my gaze to the rose. "It shouldn't matter anymore."
"But it does still matter, Aria," he said. "I've never been through what you have, but I do know that stuff like that just doesn't go away. And, yes, it has been a year. Exactly, today. But I know that times like these make the memories stronger."
"I've just been so confused lately. All these emotions running inside of me, and I can't make sense of a single one."
"No one's asking you to make sense of anything. What happened, happened. You can't change that. Neither can I, no matter how much I want to."
"I just wish I could forget." I had forgotten too, until that moment when I saw the rose. Then everything came back, like a dam that had broke.
"Some things we just can't forget, we have to learn from them. No matter how terrified we might be of remembering, we should never forget."
I snuggled closer to him, trying to block the chill that had suddenly sprung upon me. That, and I didn't want Adrian to see the tears that were escaping from my eyes.