He didn't smell like alcohol. It was strange. Since I'd known him, the stench glued to his skin as if he was sweating liquor through his pores. Before you saw him ,his reeking odor would greet you .
Today, he smelt like fresh linen. It was a gentle smell that beckoned me to draw nearer to him but I resisted . He had to earn that nearness and so far he hadn't.
“What are you doing here?” I asked,as rain droplets kissed my tears . He remained silent ,tucking his arms into his black leather jacket to protect against the November chill. He swiped his drenched curly brown hair from in front of his green eyes as if to get a better look at me . Frustration boiled within me. “ Nathanial ,I asked why are you here at my fiance’ s funeral.” I said stomping my feet on the soggy grass. “ He was my friend too, Elise .” He responded without raising his voice. “ Don’t forget that.” “ Friend? Is that what you want to call him now he’s dead?” I replied now flustered . “ What type of friend tries to stop an engagement?” I asked now in a heightened voice . “ The type of friend that’ s real and honest. I love you , Elise .He knew that before he proposed to you. You only chose him because he was the better man.” Nathanial answered, elevating his voice only slightly. “He was the better man,” I said without hesitation. “ Why would I waste my life with a drunk?” His face fell as if I had spat at it. He rubbed his hands through his hair as if he was trying to complete a sentence in his mind. “I’m sorry,Elise. I really am. For what I put you through back when we were dating, for the embarrassment …. for the crash.” He said with breaks in his voice. “ I could have died , Nathanial.” I said firmly . “ You ran us off the road. All because.. All because you wanted have ..what was it.. Oh yea almost an entire bottle of vodka.” “ Elise ,I had a problem, but I'm sober now. I've been sober for nearly 14 months . I go to meetings.I have a sponsor .” He said in a mild voice drawing closer to me. “Well, good for you , Nathanial , good for you . “I said now attempting to move past him. “ Elise , don't be like this, please.” He said in a begging tone. “ Be like what ,Nathanial. Sensible , self- respecting.” I said. “I just lost my fiance ,Nathanial. Let me be.” “Elise ,no matter what you do or say, I refuse to let you be alone .” Nathanial said ,now reaching for me. “I spent more nights alone while with you than you know Nathanial ,” I answered . “while I was drinking , Elise .” He said Now raising his voice. “When I wrecked that car, I left you in that hospital because I didn't want you to wake up to a monster. I made a decision,right then to change .”He said now crying. “Then he stepped in and suddenly you were in love and everything was always so perfect with you two.” “ …..And now that he’s dead ,you think you’ve found some opportunity to steal me back.” I said ,arms crossed “ No, Elise , now that he's dead, I have an obligation to be everything to you that he was.” Nathanial said in between sobs.
“ Elise, I can't leave you here knowing that your heart has been broken twice .” he said Now touching me on the shoulder . “Nathanial, I don't know what you want me to do: the booze ,the crash, my fiance .” I said now crying. “ What do you want me to do, to just forget ?” “ No, Elise don't you ever forget . I would be so angry if you forgot because if you forget then how can you forgive me.” “Elise I need you to forgive me “ “If I forgive you, I'll love you all over again.” I replied, trembling. Then love me enough to remember all that I’ve done wrong and to let it go.”