My dad arranged the TV dangling over the counter so everyone could watch it but the people sitting on the stools got the best view. It was usually showing either a soccer game or the morning news. This morning, I was leaning on the counter my back to the diner, watching the news with a woman sitting behind me.
“Best headline we’ve had in weeks,” a voice marveled behind me, engrossed by the TV. I turned to see one of our regular customers, the same woman and her young son sitting on the stools who had said that we would get an Expelled.
I turned to the TV. The local news was marveling that all the Expelled had seemingly disappeared from their homes overnight. All of them had left the same note in their rooms, balanced on nightstands, sheets, and vanities.
It had been about two years since Lorleah had been taken by her people. I felt a small clench in my chest. I had somehow convinced myself that she would have been killed… how could I say otherwise? I visited the boardwalk everyday, hoping for a sign. I could feel my memory of her fading though. She seemed like an idea now. Never really there. My father hasn’t mentioned her in awhile. I could never tell if he was devastated by losing her.
“We just got breaking news on what the notes under question say,” A reporter marveled. The diner went silent, “It is strange folks. The notes only say, ‘Goodbye, Love, Lorleah and Jen.” None of the people who live in the households know anything about Lorleah and Jen… and neither do we for that matter.” Another reporter joined him on screen and he looked at him. “Looks like an elaborate prank. And now for the weather, John?”
The screen changed to a large map and I smiled to myself. Clever girl, I thought, You always know how to stump people.
I stepped from behind the counter and walked out the front doors, down the street and out onto the boardwalk. I stared at the horizon and smiled, taking my spot on my usual bench.
“You really know how to make headlines, don’t you little girl…” I said to the ocean. A gentle breeze ruffled my hair and I laughed. “It’s been two years since you left. I guess I’m assuming your dead. Mariah tripped up the stairs the other day. You would have liked it. Dang it, now you have me looking like a crazy person. I miss you.” I stood up and started to walk away.
“Two years?” A voice asked, filled with laughter. I froze and tipped my head backwards, looking at the sky. I laughed and tears welled up in my eyes.
“You cannot be serious. This is too movie worthy.” I sighed, my voice breaking.
“Masterful entrance, am I right?” Lorleah asked and I could feel her smile. I turned to her and smiled.
“You are really a miracle.”
“I missed you.” She smelled like everything good about everything. She smelled like the ocean. Like flowers and sun and honey. She smelled like bacon and syrup and cotton candy. I guess that means a miracle can be anywhere and in anyone.