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One Day Like This
Topic Started: Feb 9 2012, 02:37 PM (1,084 Views)
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It was unusually warm for Minnesota, even for a bright day in late July. Tom was at her parent’s, drinking beers in the garden with David and her Dad. Acacia suspected that her kids would have preferred to stay behind and play on the swings, but she needed them here. Well, more precisely, she needed her son here, but Emma would have been offended if she thought she wasn’t needed too.

Bayview Secondary School was closed for the summer, but the memorial was always open. Even now, fifteen years later, it seemed as fresh and perfect as it had the day it was opened. And still there were offerings - flowers, cards, photos - some of which had been there for years. Some people had been organised and laminated their messages. She hadn’t done that. But hers wasn’t really intended to last.

The person it was meant for already knew what it said.

As soon as she released their hands they had run off across the grass, Emma winning by a streak in some impromptu race. They started to disappear into the haze. Emma was carrying in her hands a bunch of white flowers.

"Emma! Roman!" Acacia called after them. Roman turned, his eyes wide behind his glasses and he trotted dutifully back towards his mother. Emma stuck her tongue out and danced around a little, before continuing to run, perpendicular to them, back towards the car. She did a pirouette, holding the bunch of flowers high above her head like a pom pom. There was nobody else around.

Roman slipped his hand inside hers, and Acacia squeezed it back. They walked slowly together towards the memorial. As they got closer, she clamped a hand over her mouth, unsure of any other way to respond that wouldn’t scare her son. She dropped Roman’s hand, using that one to trace the names of people on the wall.

It was silly. These people had been dead for fifteen years, and yet looking at their names she might have been in class with them only yesterday. Tom Guthrie, he’d asked her to Prom. She hadn't thought about him in years, but all of a sudden they were swinging on the ropes in the gym. There was Max Neill, she could hear them reading his name out on the list of the dead, the guy she’d actually gone to Prom with. Charlie and Thea and all the other girls from Cheerleading, pom poms long since rested. She could see Charlie being shot, the scene playing out in her mind and obscuring her vision. She was seventeen again, and she didn’t know what to do. Running after Hayley Kelly on some kind of hell bent revenge. Losing her insulin and finding the boats. The bird with her underwear on its head.

"It’s my name!" Acacia glanced down. Roman’s arms were reached out to a little above eye level, touching the memorial delicately with his fingertips. Crouching down next to him, Acacia looked at it closely. "I never found anyone else called Roman before."

“I’ve only ever known two people called Roman,” Acacia said softly, distractedly. "They’re both right here."

Roman turned around then, as if expecting there to be someone else standing nearby. He looked back at his namesake written on the wall, then up at his Mom. Then he looked away quickly, unsure of how to react. Acacia, trying unsuccessfully to hide how upset she was, reached into her bag and extracted the note. It was written on a small card, with a cake on the front. Inside was a single sentence, written in the elaborate handwriting she had last used as a teenager. She handed it to her son.

"Put that with all the others," Acacia said, pointing at the smattering of tokens that had been left at the base of the memorial. Her son took the note and opened it immediately with curiosity. Why had he been dragged out to a random school near his Grandparent’s house to go and look at something that just had a load of names written on it? The only redeeming factor was that one of the names was Roman too.

"I never told anyone about the bug," Roman read out loud. He turned to look curiously at Acacia. From behind them they heard Emma’s airy voice. "What in darned tootin’ hell does that mean?"
"I’ll tell you one day," Acacia said with a watery smile, hugging Roman and Emma to her. She nodded at the memorial, and Emma placed the flowers, by now a little bedraggled from roving around the grounds, gently next to the note. For a moment they stood, Roman still had his arms wrapped tightly around his mother’s waist, and Emma stood slightly to one side, looking at the memorial with a detached interest. Acacia watched her.

One day. One day she would understand.

But, for now, it was time for them to experience the rest of their lives.

Everything in life is only for now.

Edited by xylophonefairy, Feb 10 2012, 07:50 AM.
the world is on my side
i have no reason to run

v4 nostalgia

shiny shiny V5 concepts (now with clickies)
Phoebe Cho - I shall be playing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor. Wizard!
Harry Hanley - I've got Hershey's at half price today! Get 'em quick before I have rehearsal!
Lor Van Diepen - I'm gonna make a video later. About running. Does that sum me up enough?
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