The door to Neil’s apartment opened slowly. Elizabeth held Eleanor’s hand.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Elizabeth asked. “I have to. It’s the only way I can say goodbye.” Eleanor replied. “Okay.” Elizabeth brought her in slowly.
Eleanor looked around the living room. She remained silent as she made her way through the apartment. All of the memories they spent together here suddenly rushed through her mind. Some of them she blocked out after he died, but everything now seemed like it was happening right before her eyes. The smell of his after shave was still fresh in the air. Eleanor froze in her footsteps when she stepped in to the bedroom. Her whole world was in this room. Their last moments together were in front of the mirror. She remembered wrapping her arms around him tightly. Looking back she wished she wouldn’t have let go so fast. Elizabeth came up behind her. She placed one hand on Eleanor’s shoulder. “Are you okay?” She asked gently. “If missing him is good then I guess I couldn’t be happier.” Eleanor collapsed in to her sister’s arms. “It’s going to be alright, Ellie.” She said stroking her brown hair. “I miss him so much right now. Sometimes I worry that I will forget him. All we had was a month. What if one day I just forget that I ever loved him?” She cried. “Don’t be silly. Your heart will never forget him. If it helps any he will always be a part of you.” Eleanor sat down on the bed. “Who am I fooling, Lizzie? I don’t want to say goodbye yet.” She replied sobbing. “No one ever said that death was easy.”
“I know, but why do I have to miss him so much? He should be here loving me not six feet under! Neil promised me he would come back, but he didn’t! And I don’t know if I can make it without him.” Elizabeth came to Eleanor and embraced her. She rested her head on Elizabeth’s shoulder and cried. “Ellie, I really wish I could take all your pain away. It kills me to see you going through this.”
“I can’t do it. Neil meant more than anything to me, and I just don’t think I can live without seeing him another day.” She replied. “Don’t say such things. You are going to be fine.” Elizabeth tried her best to build up Eleanor’s confidence. She always thought Ellie was stronger, but behind all the strength was the helpless little girl everyone made her out to be. Eleanor released herself from Elizabeth’s embrace. She silently paced the floor.
“You don’t understand, Lizzie. Neil was interested in what I had to say! Unlike you and the rest of the family he never criticized me or made me feel stupid! He was the first person who actually believed in me!” Eleanor sobbed. “You don’t have to yell at me! I know you are going through a lot right now, but you can’t take it out on the rest of the family!” Elizabeth shouted at her sister. “I am not taking it out on anyone! All I am doing is being honest! Right from the start you told me he was no good for me!” Eleanor cried.
“What was I supposed to do? Neil is twenty-six years old and he was taking out my teenage sister!” Eleanor was suddenly struck silent. New tears replaced the old ones. “Neil was twenty-seven.” Her voice trembled. Elizabeth attempted to embrace her, but Eleanor pushed her away. “Can I have a moment alone, please?” She requested in a distressing manner. “Of course.” Elizabeth swept passed her. She softly closed the door behind her. Eleanor moved about the room, running her fingers across every piece of furniture. His essence was in every corner of the room. A bottle of his after shave sat on top of the dresser. Eleanor took off the cap and held it up to her nose.
The scent brought her back to the night they met. She could hear the sound of the big band playing softly in the background. His arms tenderly holding her close to him. And the scent of his after shave as she rested her head on his shoulder. “Neil, why did you leave me behind?” She whispered. As she placed the bottle down on to the dresser a tin box caught her attention. Eleanor picked it up and took it over to the bed. She popped the latch and opened it up. All that was there were some papers. At the bottom of the box there was an envelope with her name on it. Unsure of what to do, Eleanor took it out and stared at it long and hard. Her conscious had the best of her. “What would Neil want me to do?” She asked herself. After debating with the issue she gave in and read it:
I never wanted to tell you how scared I was to leave. My Ellie should never have to worry about me. In case I was to never see you again I thought you should know that you changed me more than you will ever know or understand. And all though it was a short time we had together, you were the best wife a man could have. Love you forever-Neil.