Pink Roses

Another short story that I wrote for class. It used to be super bad but then I rewrote it a few months ago and I like it a lot again. It’s cute.

My footsteps echoed all around the empty hallways, the noise booming all around me. It seemed to follow me everywhere. My backpack rustled against my outer thigh as it brushed my jeans with every step I took. My blonde dyed hair swashed behind me, and my earrings jingled because of the spring in my steps. The lights overhead buzzed with electricity, and I could hear doors opening and closing behind me, but other than that, the hall was silent.

I didn’t stop walking until I reached the side doors of the building, the ones that led to the student parking lot.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

“You planning on moving anytime soon?” a voice asked from behind me, and I spun in my spot to find Kennedy smirking down at me.

“Shut up. I’m mentally preparing myself for this.”

“For skipping school?” he joked, but we both knew that wasn’t the reason.

“What are you doing here, anyway?”

The smirk adorning his face fell, his dark eyebrows furrowed as he looked out the glass doors, deep in thought. His wavy dark hair—long enough for him to tuck behind his ears—glistened from the flickering lights above us.

“You shouldn’t be alone right now.”

I rolled my eyes.

“It’s been two years, Kennedy. I’ll be okay.”

His only response was to glare.

“Alright, then. Come on, time’s a-wastin’, Sasquatch.”

His glare intensified, but thankfully, he followed me out as I pushed past the doors and power walked to my car.

He stood patiently by the passenger’s side door as he waited for me to unlock my 1999 Toyota Camry, alternating between scratching away the blue paint from where it was already peeling and pulling on the hem of his purple shirt before smoothing away the wrinkles.

“I don’t really get why it’s so hard, you know? I mean, it shouldn’t be, not really,” I babbled on as I climbed into the car, slamming the door behind me, barely missing my foot as I did. “It’s not like I have it as hard as some other people. I have you, after all.”

He shrugged his shoulders as he put on his seatbelt and messed around with my radio.

“Whether or not I’m here doesn’t really matter all that much, now, does it? I mean, we’re still going there anyway, and that should be more than traumatizing enough for anyone.”

I could feel butterflies fluttering nervously in my stomach as I started the car, having to jimmy the key in order to get it to work. Knowing that opening my mouth would only lead to my voice cracking in an embarrassing manner, I hummed in agreement.

He seemed satisfied with my answer, and went back to changing the station a few more times before leaving it on some pop station. We sat in comfortable silence as Taylor Swift sang about craziness and heartbreak in the background.

I took the highway and accepted the fact that it would take a while to get to where I was going.

It wasn’t until we were almost there when Kennedy decided to speak up again.

“So what flowers are we getting?”

“What did I get last time? Carnations? I really can’t remember.”

“Daisies,” he complained with a crinkle of his nose, causing me to throw back my head in laughter.

“What’s wrong with daisies? They’re cute!”

He rolled his neck so he could face me from where he was leaning against the head rest.

“For twelve year old girls, maybe. Get something manly, like… I don’t know, snapdragons? Those are pretty manly, aren’t they?”

I suppressed the need to snort.

“How do you even know what snapdragons are, Sutherland? And no. I’m getting poppies. Deal with it.”

He grumbled the rest of the car ride.

Once I found a parking place, I turned off the engine of the car and sat there for a few seconds, my grip on the purple puppies tightening dangerously.

Purple had been his favorite color.

Kennedy sat in absolute silence next to me, placing his hand atop of mine until I loosened my hold on the flowers.

I took another deep breath before nodding and getting out of the car. He followed my lead, and together we walked past the looming black gates and into the cemetery.

It was around noon, so it wasn’t really surprising when we walked past a couple of people who, like me, were visiting their loved ones, leaving colorful flowers on their tombs and telling them all about the things they’d missed.

“I still can’t believe it’s been two years already. Can you? It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.”

He shot me a sad smile before looking away.

“Me neither. Certainly feels like less time.”

We maneuvered our way between headstones and statues, walking past the wooden benches and around the old weeping willow, stopping just before we reached the first of the mausoleums, near the edge of the cemetery, and stood before the third headstone to the left.

It was cramped between two older headstones from like the 1950’s and it was a little crooked, with weeds growing around it and dirt making the inscription unreadable. I replaced the dead daisies with the vivid flowers and spoke as I brushed away the dirt, tracing the letters and numbers with my fingers.

K-E-N-N-E-D-Y S-U-T-H-E-R-L-A-N-D 1-9-9-6—2-0-1-4

“So have you seen your Yoda?”

“I’m sorry, my what?” he asked with raised eyebrows.

“You know, your Yoda. Guide. Pastor. Whatever.”

He snickered.

“No, not yet. Still waiting.”

“Well, how long is he gonna make you wait?” I groaned, suddenly exhausted on his behalf.

He only shrugged.

“Do you think you’ll cross the border soon?”

“Where do you think I’m going? Mexico?” was his incredulous response.

That got a laugh out of me.

“The border to the ‘Other Side’. Heaven. Hell.” I muttered the last part. Not that it helped, because he snorted and hit me on the back of the head.

“Trust me; I’m in no hurry to leave.”

I shot him a bright grin.

“Good, because I like having you around.”

He returned the smile.

“I like hanging around. Might even stay longer than I had planned.”

I cocked my head to the side and stuck out my tongue before patting the spot next to me, offering him a seat.

And even though he was literally sitting next to me, I spoke to the headstone.

Keeping up appearances and whatnot.

“So, Kennedy. Just came to fix your grave because you asked me to. You’re pretty whiny for a dead guy, you know? And just so you know? Next time I’m bringing you pink roses.”

The only thing that could be heard after that was my cry of surprise as I tumbled to the side, seemingly having been pushed by an unseen force.


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