Author’s Note: Because you asked for more.
It was many years later when I next saw the flower girl. Age had taken its toll on me, the lines of a hard life marking my face like the rings of a felled tree. I’d happened upon a small wood in the full cerulean blush of a bluebell birthing, she was there.
Clara, my granddaughter, leapt from our car and raced into the trees before I could prevent it, me rushing after her. I called and bellowed, screamed and shouted until fearing for the child’s safety and my own sanity. However, I needn’t have worried.
I recognised her that instant though she hadn’t changed a day. Clara rested in the arms of a girl no older than herself, protected by her cradling twin. The flower girl swayed as though in a meadow breeze; there was no wind, the wood stagnant. I coaxed Clara away from the pretty child who remained unmoved, then thanked her profusely.
I made no mention of knowing her previously, asked not of her mother nor her family. Only then did she speak and only once. Her voice was like a spring morning, a soothing balm.
“Please, sir, might you spare me some water?”
I gave her the bottle that remained untouched from Clara’s ladybird backpack. The flower girl took it, smiled the kindest smile I’d ever seen and poured it over her long, golden hair. Like the sun rising on a summer’s day, the flower girl stood replenished.
Clara wept as we left the child to her little glade in the woods. I’d have asked her to come, to make our home hers, but unlike Clara, I’d seen she’d taken root, her feet a foot beneath the soil.
And that is how I would remember the flower girl, as one with nature. As one day, we all must be.