John Stilinski remembers the beaming smile Claudia had given him when he came on her doorstep to take her out on a date the very first time, with a single yellow rose with red tips.
He had known she had a green thumb and liked to know the meaning of flowers and plants, and that roses were not her favourite flowers (that title went to lilies and sun flowers, depending on her mood), and so he thought that a single flower with the meaning of falling in love was more appropriate and would be more appreciated (it was, and Claudia kept the flower and pressed it to be able to preserve it).
After that day, John kept giving a single rose to Claudia on any significant occasion. The rest of the time, he would come home with a bouquet he would request from the florist with one meaning or another that he wanted to share with Claudia, in their own special way.
He remembers a bouquet of yellow tulips with myrtle and a few forget-me-nots when he wanted to let Claudia know that she was beautiful and he was thinking about marrying her.
He remembers the bouquet of red camellias scattered with crocus he gave her when she was feeling anxious about his love for her, when she was pregnant with Stiles.
But mostly, John Stilinski remembers the roses. Every single one he gave her.
There was the only time he gave more than a single rose, when he presented Claudia with a red and white rose entwined as he proposed to her.
There was the peach coloured rose when Claudia told him she was pregnant, and the dark red one on their wedding day.
The green rose when they learned she was sick and it was more serious than they first thought. And the orange rose when she gave birth to Stiles.
He remembers each smile, and look, and gesture that went with the giving of those roses and it never fails to make him smile, though it is always melancholy, for following those memorises is always the sorrow that comes with the images of having to explain to Claudia what the meaning of the flowers were, of Stiles trying to make it better for both of them by taking one of Claudia’s book on the language of flowers and making it a game to discover and guess what the meaning was, try with all the might of his young heart to make his parent stop hurting.
But most of all, what John Stilinski remembers, is the single black rose he put on his dead wife’s grave the day his only son and him gave her back to the earth.