Those eyes, that smile. Everything that I had lost, that had been stolen from me in an instant. She had come back to me. Standing before me, pale, see-through, but there all the same.
She smiled at me, a sad smile, filled with two years' worth of unspoken thoughts.
It was enough.
I fell to my knees, sobbing. My tears blinded me, but I wiped them away. I had lost her, but now I had found her again. And I would never let her go.
She dropped to one knee and stretched out her hand, as if to touch my face. I reached out to her, and our hands strained to touch, but it was as though there was a sheet of glass between us, keeping us apart.
So close, and yet so far.
Slowly her smile faded. She pressed both palms against the glass wall and mouthed my name.
I pressed my palms to hers as tears poured down my face. "Laura," I whispered, almost incoherent with grief. "I love you."
She tried to smile, but her face crumpled, and a single tear slid down her cheek and fell to the grass. And as I watched, a single white flower grew where the tear had fallen.
I struggled to say something, but Laura placed a finger against her lips. Ethan, she mouthed again. I love you. And I will always be here for you.
And like mist beneath the summer sun, she began to fade, "Laura," I whispered again, stretching my hand out toward her fading image. This time my hand met no glass wall, and it passed through like smoke.
She was gone.
I swallowed hard, tasting the salt of my tears. With a shaking hand, I pulled the charm from my pocket and kissed it. Then I bent down and dug a small hole beneath the white flower. Laura's flower.
"Goodbye, Laura," I whispered. Gently I placed the charm, the intertwined E and L, in the hole and buried it.
I had lost Laura for the second time. But this time I knew find her again.