Fox Forever Page 82
’’They sting,’’ I say.
’’No, it\s more of a flutter. Almost like wings brushing my cheeks.’’
I lift my face, trying to see the snowflakes as Jenna does. I\ve become immune to them, so many winters in Boston now. I remember winters as a child, racing to get my sled at first snowfall, the excitement and fear of hitting my brother dead center on his back with a snowball, the times I tried to capture the quarter-sized flakes to put in our freezer, wanting to preserve the fragile crystals forever, and more recently, sharing the first-time wonder with Raine as our toddler son caught the tiny treasures in his own small hands and licked them away.
’’And so light,’’ she says. ’’A lacy wing that melts away. It\s a miracle.’’
A miracle. That\s the look I saw in my son\s eyes too. And though I knew all the explanations of how snowflakes form, in that moment I ached inside with the mystery and miracle of it all.
A cough wrenches Jenna\s lungs and her steps falter. I hurry to her side, holding her, my arm around her waist.
’’It\s time, Locke,’’ she whispers. ’’I can feel it.’’
’’No, Jenna, not yet ’’
Her legs fail and I catch her, falling to the ground with her.
’’Jenna, what can I do?’’
A mysterious connection that can never be explained.
A connection that will never be broken.
She coughs, her shoulders shaking in my arms. I spread my fingers beneath her head, supporting her, looking at the girl, still every bit seventeen but over three hundred years old.
’’So many others are already gone. It\s my turn.’’
She stares into my face, the last thing she\ll ever see, staring until her crystal blue eyes don\ see me anymore, snowflakes gathering on her lashes. My hands tremble as I reach up and close her lids. I pull her close to my chest, holding her, rocking her, the world hushed, saying the word it took me more than a lifetime to learn. Good-bye.
Snowflakes fall silently around us, fluttering white butterflies.
No, Jenna ... never gone.
Some things last forever.