Stella stood in front of the door; her hand was resting on the doorknob and her eyes were closed…not to hide the gloom that ruled her heart for the past seven years…but to feel the warmth of the sun that had just dawned on the sky of her life.
“Are you sure?” asked Alex as Stella signed the cheque.
“I don’t think that I have any reason to not be sure!”
“But, didn’t you save this money to start your own company?”
“I did! But, when I was saving this money, I was wasting my life like a wreck, ignoring my happiness, my family’s happiness. In the last seven years of my life, I have tried to live a fool’s dream! I was trying to barter smiles for applause; I was trying to give away the beautiful life that I already had to buy a much cheaper and a fabricated world, a world of mirages, it does not even let you see its voids before you become as hollow as this world! If giving away this money brings back those smiles on my parents’ face, then I don’t think that anything or any reason is valid enough to stop me from repaying this debt!”
A wide smile graced Stella’s lips as she relived that moment! She was proud…proud of her decision…she was proud of the fact that now, she knew what she really wants from her life.
That moment, that serene moment…as she stood in front of the door of her room, was the happiest moment of her life. Nothing beats the beauty that lies in the strength needed to rebuild the fortress of your life.
She took a deep breath to feel the happiness that surrounded her and pushed the door open. She, then, slowly opened her eyes as she stepped inside her room. She witnessed every memory coming back to life, greeting her on her arrival. The woody scent that filled the air soothed Stella’s senses. She wanted to freeze that moment, then and there.
She felt like a traveler, who just returned from a long journey; she just came back to a home that she left behind in her endeavors; a home, that she once despised for its comfort and beauty, for the fact that it lacked adventure! That adventure, which was offered by the rugged roads that waited for her, outside the four walls! She left this home for them…but today, she could fight the world to call this home her own!
Stella turned around to find John struggling with the luggage.
“Oh! I am sorry! I forgot that you were getting the luggage out of the car!”
Stella helped John and kept the bags on the table beside the bed. Tired from carrying the suitcases all by him, john threw himself onto the sofa. Meanwhile, Stella got busy unpacking her suitcase. To make someplace for the clothes, Stella decided to examine the closet. A huge blow of dust came on her face as she opened the closet door. She started coughing.
“Oh God! This place has to be cleaned!” she managed to utter those words while she still coughed badly.
“No need! The lawyer has completed all the paperwork. Just sign on the dotted and we will be free!” John played with his fingers as he said that, trying to avoid making eye contact with Stella. He suspected that after meeting her parents, meeting Alex and listening to their story, she might have changed her mind. His fear found a very firm ground in his head when he got to know about her decision to repay the debt using her life savings.
Stella gave out a deep sigh. “I am not selling the house!”
From her tone, she sounded uninterested to voice any further arguments in this regard. She expected her boyfriend of five years, and now his fiancé, to take that affirmation as obvious. She wanted his heart to answer that question before his mind would have even decided to give birth to it!
The fact that it was still unanswered, felt like a sword through Stella’s soul. The fact that john still expected her to sell the house was a red-flag for her, and definitely not the first one! She came across a similar red-flag when she saw a change in John’s expressions on hearing her decision to pay back the debt!
She knew that John was not on the same page as her…but this time, she was determined to not move even a single page to please him!
“I knew it!” John’s lips twisted in anger, his brow frowned in frustration. “I knew that you were an emotional fool! Oh God! How stupid am I? How did I even expect practicality from a person like you?” John was blazing with anger. He jumped up from the couch and started pacing back and forth as he attacked Stella with those words.
But Stella…her armor was strong; it was made with her deep emotions. An armor made of reasoning can be broken with an arrow of a strong argument, but an armor made of emotions is unparalleled!
“You can call me whatever you wish to! I am not selling this house!” Stella’ eyes oozed out the firmness of her decision.
John felt helpless! He kicked the side-table as he exited the room. The vase on the top of it fell down and broke into a thousand pieces. This time, those pieces were not a metaphor of her broken heart… but they represented the fall of that hollow and vulnerable Stella, whose part she played for the last seven years.
A tear left her eye to pay the due condolences to that Stella, and then she resumed her work as she gulped the rest of her feelings!
“Pass me that blue color!”
”Yes, Sir!” Stella exclaimed as she passed the tube of color to her dad; she went, stood beside his canvas and started looking at his face!
“What are you looking at?”
“The fact that I yearned to see for so many years!”
“Well! My face has wrinkled a lot since then!’
“Makes you look cuter!” Stella pulled her father’s cheek as she said that.
David took some blue paint and stroked it on Stella’s nose.
“Dad!’ He smiled and giggled.
“Don’t you trouble my daughter!” Emma entered the room with four glasses of juice. She kept them on the table and handed over a glass to Alex.
Stella noticed his plaster, “Hey! How is that so white? Why haven’t I drawn on it already?”
Stella picked up a marker and started drawing on the plaster in his hand. Emma took Stella’s place and started watching David paint with keen interest, her hand resting on his shoulder. They both looked at each other and smiled every now and then.
Looking at these smiles filled Stella’s heart with joy!
“They look so happy!”
“Yes! I can die for those smiles!”
“What about you? Are you happy Stella?”
“Yeah! Of-course! I am very happy! I am still pursuing my dream job and helping my father with his art gallery at the same time! I can’t even explain how much joy that brings to my heart! I won’t lie! Traveling every weekend is a little exhausting, but it is totally worth it!” Stella said that with the widest smile on her face!
“Do you have any idea about how beautiful you look when you smile? Start smiling more often, Stupid!” Alex said that as he pinched her nose.
Stella giggled and continued her drawing.
The wounds of her past were still red. She was still not over John…but her heart was not dead and barren now. Her heart was waiting for love to blossom!
She knew that Alex liked her…she liked him too!
But…she was not ready, her heart was not ready to risk a beautiful relationship, to exhaust its purity, force it to fill the wounds of her heart. She knew that she had to heal herself first, fall in love with herself again…and then allow love to cover her scars!
She smiled as she told that to herself!