Banner Marsden still cannot believe this is happening to her. She is looking at him, like that, right now. Her mother is touching her shoulder almost heartlessly as they stare at him, her husband, in a coffin. Nathan was the greatest and the most loving person in the world, and Banner cannot help wonder why God took him away from her. Why did it have to rain that morning? Why couldn’t I stop him from going to work? Why? Why? That’s what has been running through her mind since his car accident. Nathan kissed her good morning and told her that he will see her later and how much he loved her and then he left. He died at the scene, so Banner knew he was not in vein or pain when he died. But, she is in so much emotional pain. She was planning a surprise dinner plan when he got home and she was going to tell him some good news, Banner is pregnant with their first child. Now, this child will not have a father. Banner looked into his coffin and noticed the good work the mortician did to cover his cuts, scrapes and the bruising around his eyes. His brunette hair is nicely brushed the way he done his hair in the mornings and he is wearing his work clothes, a nice beige, button up shirt and some frayed blue jeans. He is wearing his wedding band, Banner knew he would wanted to be buried with it and his class ring is also on. She closed her brown eyes and ran her fingers through his hair and she remembered his beautiful topaz eyes looking at her when they made love the night before he died. She can still hear him telling her over and over how much he loved her.
“Ladies and gentleman, may you take a seat, the service is about to start,” the minister said and Banner sat beside her mother-in-law and they listened to the minister’s kind words about Nathan. He mentioned how he volunteered in Atlanta, a hour and a half drive from our town of Commerce, Georgia and how he was a loving husband, son, uncle and grandson. Banner looked around and seen everybody cry, including their five year old niece, Nicole.
“God, please watch over Banner Marsden, Nathan’s loving wife and their unborn baby for us…” the minister said and she touched my stomach, hoping her baby hears his kind words. After the service, her mother in law, Janice, and herself stood up as we watched the pall bearers carried the coffin down the aisle and into the hearse. Banner got into Janice’s car and they did not say a single word. We drove to the Marsden cemetery and she sat in the first row beside Janice. Since her husband’s death, Janice and Nathan began to get close again since he is her only son, and her youngest child.
“My baby is gone, Banner, how will I go on?” Janice said and Banner hugged her tightly.
“You still have Lydia, Rebecca and Heather and all your grandbabies,” she said to her.
“Nathan was my baby!”
“I know he was, he was my first love and my husband of four years.” Nathan and Banner began dating when she was sixteen and he was twenty-two. When she turned eighteen, he proposed to her. We got married when she turned twenty and now at twenty-four, she is a widow. Banner doesn’t know if she can love again. He was her first love, her first everything. She began to cry again and when the graveside service started, she gained her composure. She wants Nathan to look down on her from Heaven and see that she is still his calm and caring wife. When the quick service ended, the men from the funeral home gave Banner, Janice, and all of Nathan’s sisters a rose to throw on the coffin. Usually, the wife is the first one to throw the rose, Banner is different. She only loved him for eight years, but his mother and sisters loved him for all of his thirty years of life.
“Banner, it’s your turn honey. Say your good-byes,” Rebecca, the middle child, said to Banner. She swallow all her fear away and began walking to the brown chestnut coffin. My knees, why do they feel like rubber? Why's my throat so dry? She thought to herself as she felt sweat beading down her face and her heart race. She began to shake and she tried blowing a kiss at the coffin and tossing the rose in the grave, but she fell to the ground and she felt like something is holding her up as her world went black.
“Mrs. Marsden, I am Dr. Hart, how are you feeling?” the female doctor said as Banner woke up at the hospital. When she opened my eyes, the lights of the emergency room began to burn her corneas and it hurt. Banner looked around the room and her mom and dad is looking at her with fear in their eyes. She immediately touched her stomach where her baby slept and began to worry. She knew her doctor sensed her fear and smiled.
“Don’t worry Banner, your baby is fine,” the doctor said and she blew out a sigh of relief. Her throat feels so dry and she swallowed so she can speak.
“What happened?” she asked.
“You fainted when you tried to throw the rose in Nate’s coffin,” her mother, Vanessa Carlson, said to her.
“Must been the heat…”
“Honey, its November, its barely fifty degrees right now. I think all the pressure from the past couple of days finally took a toll on you,” Vincent Carlson, her father, said and ran his fingers through her raven black hair. Banner felt around her head and she did not feel any bumps or scratches, she only has a small headache.
“Leo caught you,” Vanessa said and she nodded. Leonardo Adams, or Leo, was Nathan’s best friend since middle school. He is the complete opposite of Nathan. Nathan loved doing community service as Leo is a hell raiser and he loves his women and women loves him. Leo is a heartthrob and quite good looking and Banner did had a crush on him when she was sixteen. He has dark, curly blonde hair with baby blue eyes. If a woman thought he was not sexy, she must be blind or there is something wrong with them! She know he works, but fails to know as what.
“Leo is in the waiting room, want me to bring him in?” Vincent asked her and she nodded. A few moments later, Leo walks into the room and her heart skips a beat. She feels awful for having feelings for a man right after her husband‘s funeral. Last night was the first time they made love in weeks due to Nathan's busy schedule and Banner being sick due to her pregnancy. Banner cleared her throat, gathered her thoughts together, other than how good looking Leo looks in a black suit, and smiled at him.
“Leo, thank you for catching me when I fainted,” Banner said and he slowly put his hands in his pockets.
“It was kind of obvious that you we’re going to faint, you went pale as a ghost!” Leo said in his sexy southern accent.
“I just got overwhelmed with everything.”
“No one blames you one bit, sweetheart. You just lost your husband and you are pregnant, so it’s a bit overwhelming. I want you to come live with us for a while and I will take good care of you until you can get on your feet again,” Vanessa said and Banner smiled. She knew she cannot live in her house since Nathan and herself picked it out. It would not feel right for her.
“Yeah, that sounds nice, mom,” Banner said and her mother kissed her forehead. The doctor came back inside and discharged her from the hospital. Banner decided to run home and gather her things right then and there. When she went to her dresser to gather her underwear, she looked straight into her wedding picture. Banner loved his big smile and his voice, his everything. She fell to the ground and she cried until she couldn’t cry anymore. “Why Nathan, why did you have to leave me?”