Marc-Antoine Masse wears a ring on a chain around his neck.
It belonged to Andrée-Anne Sévigny, his girlfriend, who was working as a waitress at the Musi-Café bar in Lac-Mégantic, Que., the night of the disaster.
Masse was also at the popular downtown bar with friends that night, but became tired and decided to go home early.
"I went to see my girlfriend. We held each other in our arms and said that we loved each other. We said 'bye' and 'see you later,'" he says.
That was the last time he saw her.
Masse, a 21-year-old industrial engineering technologist, drove to their home just outside of town and went to bed.
He got a call from a friend half an hour later, who said there had been an explosion downtown.
Masse drove back into town to help evacuate pets and belongings from a house in the red zone — the area most devastated by the explosion.
He spent the rest of the night walking around the town looking for Sévigny, searching for her among groups of huddled people. He went home at 5 a.m., accepting that she had died.
"If she was okay, I would have heard from her. She would have given me a sign of life," says Masse.
Sévigny is one of the 50 people presumed dead in Lac-Mégantic after the derailment and explosion of a runaway train carrying oil. The blast happened just after 1 a.m. on July 6, destroying much of the town's core, including the Musi-Café.
Masse says he and Sévigny moved into a little duplex two weeks ago, buying all new furniture for the life they were starting together.
He says she was friendly, liked to be with people and was always there for those who needed help. At age 26, she was studying to be a nurse, waiting tables at the Musi-Café to pay for school.
"She would have been a great nurse," says Masse. "It's pretty hard but I try to live with it. I want to learn to live with it because you can't forget it."
Masse says he will keep wearing Sévigny's ring because he believes it's what she would have wanted.
"It's very important for me that I keep it after those things that happened," he says.
Sévigny is also survived by her brother and parents.