He walked over to her plot uneasy at the easy remembrance of the way. Ella. He stared at her final resting place wondering why certain things just couldn't stay buried. After awhile, he crouched down to clear the dirt and grass clippings off the solemn inscription, an epigraph that had always been laughable to the only one who knew her best. Ella, duplicitous Ella, always feigning a loving, kind, and whimsy spirit when in actuality she was evil incarnate, seducing the dolts in her circle, including himself. Except unlike the others, she had taken a liking to his fawning ways and used him with uncontrolled pleasure as her lab rat of choice.
Looking at her date of birth, he now knew the reason for the unexpected visit. Even in death she still exerted control. He sadly smiled at how thirty years had passed and still her tentacles of persuasion gripped him beyond the grave. She had lured him here to celebrate her birthday; even in death, she demanded it of him. Never allowed a voice, an original thought, he had given up everything that was dear to him just to please her. In retrospect, he now viewed it as a form of self-punishment he had sentenced himself to for having not properly paid penance to the damage done to loved ones before he met her. He had escaped his former life in an effort to rid himself of the reminders of his failures and had arrived at Bruges in hopes of starting anew.
And that's where he met her. And Eric. Eric, a passionate violinist and kindred spirit with whom he often played into the wee hours of the morning. His transcendental ability to execute rapid and difficult sequences of notes with such facility was a skill he had trained his entire life to attain to no avail. He quickly became his ardent pupil in the hopes that one day he just might achieve. Loyal and kind Eric with whom he created a natural, effortless friendship, something special to be cherished. He liked him, came to love him actually, like the brother he had never had. Oblivious, or perhaps not wanting to acknowledge the sexual undercurrent of Eric's attention, it took Ella, angst-ridden and beautiful Ella, the love of his affection, to point out what had seemed strikingly obvious to everyone but himself. And because she was forever battling a host of demons that frolicked inside of her at will, she proposed a ghastly request of him to prove her point and, as she reminded him, something he needed to execute if their love was to ever have a future. It was not her habit to compete for someone's affection.
Blinded by his love for Ella and in an effort to prove her wrong, he led Eric on. He feigned an unfelt affection towards dear, loyal, sweet Eric and, as Ella predicted, Eric took the bait. Surprised by the sudden declaration of love and lust from someone whom he would never couple with, - someone he loved as a brother - he spewed vitriol and injured the one and only person who never did him harm. Eric, realizing the cruel deception that had been played on him, stared at him in disbelief with eyes brimming with sadness. When he quietly said that he never thought him of such depths of deceit and cruelty, he made him feel dirty and ashamed. He wished him well and hoped that one day he would find someone whom he could love the way he always loved him. Later that night, Eric took his life. It was then, when he learned the fate of his beloved friend, that the love he had always had for Ella turned to hate. He could no longer look at her or be a part of her world, for her eyes mirrored his unforgiving crime, as the willing tool of her manipulations. He now only wished to die as well.
And so, he gave up his violin, denying himself the very thing that brought him complete joy. Eric was gone and he had been the catalyst of that cause. Never forgiving himself for what he had done, he sentenced himself to a solitary life, away from society, living the rest of his days remembering the cavalier way he had used and injured another; an innocent pawn in the malicious machinations of a heart blinded by untruths.