When I walked through….(Chapter-6)

Click here to read chapter-7

Stella stood there, in the middle of her room, holding a picture, a pleasant picture of her parents and her…….picture of a time when there was peace, no fight over dreams, no fight over rights, no tears, no sorrow!

There were too many noises in her brain, too much to be able to listen to any one of them. It seemed as though she was standing in the middle of a desert……her mouth was dry; her brow was frowned, sweat trickled down her neck. She felt as if all the blood in her body has rushed to her brain, it seemed as though her body foresaw the war and its qualms before Stella could have even thought about it!

There was a tension in the air, taut enough to be able to break every ax that came to cut it! For the first time in her life, Stella heard silence cry and wail…..it pierced through her ears. She tried to swallow the saliva in her mouth, it was thick, very thick…. she almost choked on it.

The picture that she held in her hands was the first attack of the war, straight on her heart, salt for her wounds! Her heartbeat went very high; she was scared for her life. Her pulse was rising, higher….and higher…..higher enough for her to hear it, it ringed in her ears. Her heart was begging for help, warning her for the storm, telling her not to step outside!

She was boiling, as though she had the worst fever ever known and then…..she felt cold, as cold as ice, frighteningly cold. For a second she wondered if she was still alive. Scared, she immediately kept the picture back.

It was hard for her to face her parents, even in a picture! Those smiles added fuel to the fire of her guilt!

She shook her hands, rubbed them against each other and then rubbed them on her face and her eyes. Closing eyes was not scary for her now, the world outside was as dark as the world within!

She picked up the picture for the last time, hugged it and then kept it back without looking at it. Those smiles could have tied her down but she strived to be free! She picked her bag and started towards the window but stopped dead at her spot….turned back and then looked at every single thing in her room. It was not just a glance, she wanted to record every single detail, capture it with her eyes. Her room was special, it had seen a lot…..it had seen her cry, laugh, break down, then pick up her own pieces to fix herself and then move forward. Here, she was looking at it for the last time; she knew that she will never be back! She looked at everything, closed her eyes to picture it in her mind, gave a deep sigh, and then opened her eyes again to bid it a smiley goodbye. Her eyes were already teary; the smile appeared like a rainbow formed on a very gloomy sky!

She then rushed back to her window and escaped, without ever looking back!

“Emergency! Emergency!”

The noise immediately caught Stella’s attention. She was lost so deep in her memories that it took her a few minutes to realize that she was in a hospital for the treatment of her friend and that seven years have already passed since the night she eloped! Her eyes fell upon the letter in her hands….just a piece of paper but felt as heavy as a huge metal boulder. She swallowed her saliva; it was just as thick as that night, tainted with her guilt, enough to choke her!

With a very scared heart, she started to read,

“Dear Stella,

It has been a while, I know! I know that I should have tried to reach you sooner! I know that I should have never allowed our relationship to stoop to this level in the first place! I know that you deserved the right to explore the world with your own perspective …. but …..alas! I don’t know why I tried to stop you then!

When I was young, my mom always used to teach me about the importance of nurturing relationships with love.  She used to tell me that a relationship is like a piece of glass, you heat it with the warmth of your love, give it some time and then mold it into a vial. This vial contains your guilt, sorrow, happiness, failures, achievements, flaws and beauty. The more love that you provide it; the larger it grows, holding more and more parts of your life. But, if you lose your patience, become greedy and try to stretch it forcefully without giving it the love and time that it deserves, it breaks, spilling all that it once held, and you….you end up losing a huge part of yourself. Since the night you left, her words have been a hymn for me!

But, I am not writing this letter to dwell on the past, I am writing it to inform you about something very important, something that I am guilty of…..”

The paper was torn after that. She was trying very hard to hold back her tears, her lips were twitching. She felt helpless, ran her fingers against the torn end of the paper, hoping to read whatever was left unsaid, turned the paper and found something more….

“I am sorry, Stella! I know that I should have told this to you earlier, but…I just could not find the courage in myself!

I know that I have disappointed you, sorry again. Maybe I do not deserve an apology but please try to grant me one if you can.

Miss you!

Your loving father,

David.”

Stella could not hold her tears back! A stream trickled down her cheeks. She missed her father too! She wanted to meet him, hug him, tell him that she has already forgiven him and say sorry for giving him so much pain. She wanted to say so much, hear, even more, wanted to be that loving daughter again. I wish she knew where he was!

A hand came on Stella’s shoulder. She turned back to find John. He felt like an oasis in the middle of a desert, like a drop of water on barren land. She immediately hugged him and cried…..cried…and cried on, like a baby!

What was Stella’s father trying to tell her? How are the events going on in the house related to him? Find out in the upcoming chapters of “When I walked through”. Follow the blog to receive an e-mail every time we release a new chapter.

 

 

Tranquility…

When I walked through….

Fear of failure….

The leaves of the tree above me fluttered as they sang the song penned by the wind. The wind was in a rush, it was sprinting across the clear blue sky, as if, it had to deliver the letters written by the lovers. On its way, it greeted the bright and magnificent Sun, which was shining with all its might, blessing the landscape with the amber.

On the tree above, a sweet pair of cuckoos gossiped endlessly, adding a music to the serenity of the view.

I was sitting under the tree facing the beautiful blue lake, with a pen and a diary in my hand, praying and longing for a few drops of creativity from the vast sea that surrounded me.

Sitting there for a few minutes, excited like a child who is about to get candy, I was almost experiencing the bliss of meditation. The feel of the tiny grass under my feet, the relief as it was snatching the exhaustion and the negativity away from me, the mild fragrance of the moist soil calming my nerves, the living definition of tranquility!

To interrupt my rendezvous with the greens, a beautiful and playful butterfly came and sat on my diary. She travelled from word to word, trying to read the agony behind them.

Her wings, the masterpiece! They were abode to an array of colours, some of them, unknown to the humankind!

She sat there for a while, gracing my view with her presence. Then, she decided to end her short stay, flew away, continuing her journey to find a palace that suited her royalty, and I……..I dived back into the deep forest of my entangled thoughts!

When I walked through….(Chapter-5)

Click here to read chapter-6

Some people have the potential of being so important in our lives that they might even replace us! Our day starts and ends with a glimpse of them. They add ‘happy’ to ‘happiness’ and take away our sorrow. They complete our lives, and still give us the freedom, space to grow and explore the talents that we may harbor. You do not have to necessarily name this relationship, all you have to do is, be grateful and recognize it, something, that I feel, most of us are bad at!

Alex was that person in Stella’s life. Honestly, If you ever asked Stella that, if she has any memories without Alex in them? The answer would be a big ‘NO!’ Even in the last seven years that she was away, there was not even a single second in her day, when she did not think about him!

 She needed Alex then, she still needs him! The truth is that she doesn’t want to stop ‘needing him’!

Alex’s importance in Stella’s life gives us an answer to ‘Why does she feel so terrible right now?’

Stella was sitting there, on the porch of her house, exhausted with all the thoughts going on in her mind but numb enough to be able to process none of them! She felt that her emotions were filled up to the brim but she also felt empty, at the same time! She was so lost that she did not even notice her ringing phone until she missed three calls. It grabbed her attention when the fourth call started ringing. The caller ID said -“HOSPITAL!”

She felt the pressure of a mountain falling right on her heart! She went so numb that she felt as though her brain had lost all the power to control her body. Her brain gave commands to pick up the phone, but, her hand…….. It did not move……It did not move at all! As if her hand had a will of its own! As if it was standing there like a soldier…… protecting her soul and her heart from the foreseen heartbreak. She sat there, still, blank, staring at her phone!

Her dry eyes were searching for any tears left in them, any more tears that they could let out to honor the moment, but Alas! They spilled the entire cask hours ago!

 The call ended….the screen went black! Now, she could see her face in it, but today, she could not recognize that person as herself.

The phone began to ring for the fifth time. This time, before her hand could have declared rebellion, she picked up the call.

“Hello!” Her voice shrieked with a slight tremble, baring her grief so vividly that, I am sure, it would have shaken the soul of the nurse on the other side. The nurse got nervous for a second, recollected her composure and then said,

“ Hello! Ms. Stella?”

“Yes!” This time her voice was calmer.

“I called to inform you that the donor you sent, reported to the hospital. The blood has been given to the patient and he is out of danger now! You can come and meet him if you want!”

“W……What? D…….Donor?”

Before Stella could have completed her sentence, the nurse disconnected the call. Thoughts raced through Stella’s mind. The call, and the confusion that it brought along, pulled her out of her numb state abruptly! She could not comprehend anything!

Who was the donor? Why did he tell the nurse that Stella sent him?

She was so confused! But then the Sun shone in the sky of her mind, its light overpowered the clouds of her thoughts! Her mind repeated back to her-‘Alex is out of danger!’ Her concerned frown vanished and a sunny smile took place of it!

She picked her phone and her handbag and rushed to the hospital. Stella ran to Alex’s room. The noise of brisk footsteps had already caught Alex’s attention. He was looking towards her with a faint smile. Stella stopped at the door. Looking at Alex’s smile, her heart melted. She greeted him back with a soft smile and started walking towards him.

“How are you feeling now?”

“Good! It hurts a bit but I am glad that I am alive!” He joked as he tried to lighten the mood.

Stella went closer and sat beside Alex’s bed.  The bed was in the middle of a small room, mostly decorated with white. The room had a faint smell of medicines. Alex had some bandages on his head and a plaster on his leg and hand. The plastered leg was hanging a little bit above the bed with the help of a support.

He moved his head slightly towards Stella and looked into her eyes. Although Stella was smiling on the outside to hide her sadness but her eyes betrayed her! They were like an open book which was waiting to be read, a peephole to look deep down into Stella’s soul!

Was Alex able to read Stella’s mind? Yes, he was!

His smile vanished! A look of grief and dismay replaced it. He looked away and then looked back at her! Stella could tell that this change was prompted by her sadness. Alex gathered all his energy and said,

“Look, Stella! I am sorry! I should have told this to you before….”

Stella interrupted him! “No Alex! Whatever is the truth, it can wait till you get well! I have got nothing to do with that house and its stories now……All I care about, is you, my friend!”

Alex frowned with confusion; sadness flashed over his face, and then he forced a smile upon it.

Before anything else could have been said, the nurse entered the room.

“Patient’s wounds need to be redressed. You might have to wait outside Ma’am!”

“Sure!”

Stella gave Alex a final smile and left the room, only to find the doctor standing there, waiting for her! His expressions were strange. Very abstract! Nothing solid enough to be able to arrive at a conclusion. He motioned her inside her office. She followed.

“What happened Doctor? Is everything okay?”

“ Yeah! Ummmm…….Actually, the nurse was sorting out your friend’s clothes and she found this letter. I am sorry…..I read it out of curiosity…….I think it is for you!”

It was the same letter that was torn in halves during the fight. Stella took it from the doctor and looked at it. She immediately grew pale, tears trickling down her eyes.

“Dear Stella…….”

It was her father’s handwriting!

What was the letter about? Why did Alex have this letter? Will this letter solve the mystery of the events taking place at the house? Find out in the upcoming chapters of “When I walked through”. Follow the blog to receive an e-mail every time we release a new chapter.

 

 

Fear of Failure……

Click here to read chapter-1

I was sitting in a rocking chair with a pen and diary in my hand. It creaked as I rocked it back and forth. The room was silent and had a dim oil lamp which accented its decor with a beautiful yellow.  The room was silent, but my mind was not! In my mind, there was nothing but chaos, uninvited noises and fear. Chaos because of all the time that I had wasted, noises of taunts that came from unmotivated mouths and fear of failure. I sat there silent and allowed my pen to run on the paper, to run far away from whatever I was experiencing.

The last drop of the oil in the lamp crackled as its soul rose up, burning with a bright yellow flame. The insects stayed there, being silent spectators to the departure of their love. The room started loosing its yellow accent as the fire blew out, handing over the throne to the moonlight.

I frowned. I was disappointed. It seemed as though the lamp was mocking my situation and the chore of reigniting the fire was a token of this mockery! I kept my pen and diary on the table, folded my arms and sat there for a while, staring into nothingness.

Drops of water trickled down the faucet. The last flock of birds flew back to their homes. The clock struck ten. The night had just begun its journey to rest in the dawn. I had just begun my journey to thrive in the burning fire of my ambitions. This thought prompted me to jump out of my brief meditation and surrender to the demands of the lamp.

I picked up a match box, some oil and started the fire. At first, it hesitated, as though it feared that it would not be able to fill in the shoes of its predecessor, but then, it chose to embrace its fear rather than fighting back. The fire allowed the fear to fuel its will and burnt even brighter than the one before it. I stood there for a while, with a smile on my face and a hope in my heart. A hope to embrace my fears just like the fire did!

When I walked through….(Chapter-4)

Click here to read chapter-5

So, as I was telling you, Stella and Alex were friends since they were toddlers. The friendship that their fathers had for years only pushed their bond further. If I talk about their relationship, Stella was always the spoiled, stubborn child and Alex was like a responsible and caring dad to her. Stella would demand the most impractical things and Alex would always counsel her about the practicality of the situation. I just wish that Stella would have heard Alex in one of the most important decisions of her life.

“Stella! Stella! Look at the toy my father gifted me!”

“Wow! Alex, this car is amazing! I love it!” Stella stared at the car with eyes full of amazement accented with want. Alex, as usual, was quick to read the deep desire her eyes tried to hide.

” You like it? I know you like cars!”

” I absolutely love it, Alex!” Stella, the enthusiastic five-year-old tried hard to look into Alex’s eyes as she said this. All she could manage was a clumsy gaze as she stealthily looked at the plastic treasure that Alex kept in front of her.

Was Alex convinced? I don’t think so! It only made this five-year-old kindergartener more firm on his decision.

Alex looked at his car for the last time and said, “Here! Have it! This is for you!”

As Alex said this, he was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the beautiful emotional roller coaster that Stella just went through. Her eyes went from want, to greed, to excitement, and to guilt at the speed of light.

” What do you mean?” She gasped, almost immediately and continued, “……….No……..This is you present……..I will not…………”

“Stella! It is not for me, it is for you! I was just making sure that I bought the perfect gift. I told my father to buy this for you.”

Alex, unlike Stella, was not the most expressive child. This attribute, though considered unusual at times, did him numerous favors at that moment. How did a child hide his disappointment and covered it with joy? Only Alex would know!

It took some time and some white lies but Stella was finally convinced.

“Thank you, Alex! You are so sweet.” Stella was very happy. Let’s say, that is just Stella!

“By the way, how is aunt now? She told me that once she will be fine, she will cook my favorite pasta for me.”

” She is fine now. It was just a minor fever! I think she is planning to invite your family to an Italian dinner tomorrow.”

“Yay!” exclaimed Stella and immediately started coughing.

“Wow! You have a terrible cough!” Alex touched her forehead, “…..and also the worst fever ever! Did you visit the doctor?”

“No! Actually, dad is out-of-town and you know, mom is always busy with work. I don’t want to trouble her.”

” Are you kidding me? You did not want to trouble her! Stella does not want to trouble people! This is the biggest lie I have ever heard from your mouth! Just admit that you are scared to visit the doctor. Scared of injections! Right?” He giggled as he teased her.

Stella looked away to avoid giggling with him but finally burst out laughing.

” Come, I will take you to the Doctor!”

“No! No!” Stella screamed pulling Alex to another direction.

” Stella! No Doctor! No pasta!”

” You are a terrible person!”

“Yes, I am!”

Alex held Stella by her waist, her arm around his shoulder and started to walk towards their family clinic.

“I am ill, not injured! I can walk!”

“Shut up!”

Stella giggled. Alex was being such a dad.

“Madam! We have reached the hospital.”, said the driver of the ambulance, pulling Stella out of her memories. She looked around, realizing that she was in an ambulance with a badly injured Alex. A tear trickled down her cheek as she thought that.

Stella quickly ran to the reception as they were taking Alex down the ambulance. She was shouting crazily. “Emergency! Emergency!”

He was quickly taken to the emergency ward. In no time, he was surrounded by machines and Doctors. It was concluded that he had to be operated upon. There was a sudden rush in the hospital lobby. Everybody ran around in panic as a stretcher transferred Alex to the operation theater. Standing there, helpless, looking at her injured friend, made Stella’s heartache.

The light above the operation table got switched on, but everything went dark for Stella! The nurse handed over a syringe to the Doctor and he quickly injected it in Alex’s arm.

“Ouch!”

“Come-on! Stella! Don’t act like a baby!”

“But Alex!”, a teary-eyed Stella looked at Alex.

“Shh…..Quiet…….Doctor, when will her fever go away?”

“A week! I have prescribed some medicines. Make sure that she takes them regularly.”

“Don’t worry Doctor! I will make sure that she follows her prescription.”, said Alex in an affirmative tone, beating his chest like a soldier.

The Doctor smiled. “I must say, Ms. Stella, you are very lucky to have such a caring friend like Alex!’

“Ms. Stella!”, a hand came on Stella’s shoulder, interrupted her thoughts and pulled her back to the present.

“Yes!”

“Some forms have to be filled regarding the patient you just came with.”

“Oh! Okay!”

Completing all the formalities gave Stella a break from the entire emotional turbulence that she was going through. When all the forms were filled, she avoided going back to Alex and rather chose to step out in the open to get some fresh air.

Sometimes you wish to go back, to go back to the point in time where you chose to travel on a different road altogether. You wish to go back to the turn where you decided to leave everything behind. You wish to cherish those relations again, which were broken by you, mercilessly, to let yourself free to fly. You wish! But, Alas! That is all that you can do!

Stella was sitting on the front lawn of the hospital, sobbing! Someone came running to her in panic.

“The Doctor is calling you, QUICK!”

Stella was able to sense the rush in the person’s eye. It prompted her to run! Every single step added to her worry. The fear of the worst started creeping upon her. She ran even faster!

“What happened Doctor? Is Alex fine?”

“Actually…….He is critical…..Many bones are broken…….He has a head injury too…….but the most worrisome thing is that……he has lost a lot of blood and his blood group is very rare! We don’t have enough blood of that group in the blood bank! Do you know any of his relatives who share the same blood group with him?”

Panic gripped Stella as the Doctor said this. She started thinking quick! The Diary!

“Don’t worry Doctor! I  have the phone numbers of some of his relatives. I will try to do something. Please try to save him!”

Stella rushed to her house. She found the diary in her cupboard. She quickly picked her phone and started calling every single number, one-by-one.

The numbers were quite old. Some were abandoned now, some unreachable, some switched off and the few others who picked up the call did not seem interested in helping!

Tears filled her eyes. She grew pale as she disconnected the last call. Her fear started to grow up on her.

Was she going to lose Alex forever?

Will Stella be able to find a blood donor? Will she be able to save Alex? Who were those people who tried to harm him? What are they up to? Find out in the upcoming chapters of “When I walked through”. Follow the blog to receive an e-mail every time we release a new chapter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I walked through….(Chapter-3)

Click here to read chapter-4

Her head was throbbing with pain.She felt powerless.Trying to shift around in her position, Stella laid there unconscious.She slowly started to open her eyes but immediately covered them with her hand as the moon-light from the opposite window was falling directly on her.After a few moments of lying still and thoughtless, she again tried to get up.It was like a war but she managed a victory.She crawled to the nearest wall and laid her back against it.

The hit was bad. She gently examined her forehead to find out if she was bleeding. She was!

“Oh god! The cut has to go before John sees it. It would concern him.”

As she stood up slowly and started to walk she immediately remembered –THE CONSIGNMENT.

She rushed back to the hall, the package was gone! The turn of events gave birth to a lot of questions. Who was that man? How did he get inside? Did the consignment belong to him? Was he here to take it back? This entire confusion was making her head hurt even more.

“Okay! I think I need some fresh air and I would need some bandage for my cut.”

She locked the house, checking all the doors and windows once again and then went outside to explore her hometown. Stepping outside sent the memory trail running again. Although a lot had changed in her town, things were still the same enough to allow her to dive deep in nostalgia.

Walking down the road, her eyes stumbled across the town park. She stopped-by to take a closer look. Somehow, nothing was changed in the past seven years. Same benches, same lighting, everything was the same.

“Are you sure?”, said Alex with a worried look.

” Yes!”, affirmed Stella in the rudest tone possible.

“Why don’t you understand Stella, your parents are not selfish, they……they are just emotional about you.”

“You don’t understand Alex. It is suffocating and I cannot take it anymore. I have a life, a dream. I want to build a grand career.”

” Do it, for sure, but you can’t just abandon your parents like that! You are their only child. Talk to them, convince them, take them along. Don’t just run away like that!”

“Stop being an emotional fool, Alex.”

“You are a fool!”, said Alex grabbing Stella by her shoulders.

She pushed him away aggressively and ran away. Needless to say, even after seven years, Stella still regrets that conversation with her best friend. She never ever talked to Alex again. That was the last time. Alex was her childhood friend. They knew each other even before they could speak. It was a very special bond.

Thinking about it now, standing right at the place where it happened, filled Stella with guilt all over again. Alex was correct all along. Stella gave out a deep sigh.

” Still thinking about it?”

She abruptly turned around to find a tall, pale and dark-eyed man standing to her right. It took her a few seconds to recognize him. It was Alex!

Curly hair, pleasant smile and an accent that still flaunted his Italian roots. She immediately broke into a smile but it soon turned into a hesitant and faint one. He sensed the hesitation.

“Don’t worry! I am not mad. Sorry to surprise you like that.”

“No! That’s fine. I am glad that we met again.”

“In town to sell the house?”

“Yes. How come you know?”

He stopped for a second with a confusing frown and then continued, ” The lawyer that you are dealing with is a close friend and by the way, your house is quite an anecdote in the town.”

Stella gave a nod.

“What is that cut on your forehead?”

“Oh! I fell down. I was going to the medical store to purchase some bandage.” Stella smiled as she said that, trying hard to conceal her lie. She definitely did not want to worry Alex just a few moments after their reunion.

“Strange! I was also going to the medical store. Let us go together then…..that is…..if you would like?”

“Yeah, sure! Why not?”

The first few seconds of the walk were silent. Then, to break the ice, Stella started talking about the weather.

” It is quite cold, right!”

” Yeah.” He gave an awkward and uninterested reply.

The silence gave Stella a few moments to analyze everything that took place. There could have been no way that Alex was just casually there at the town park. It was opposite to the way to the medical store from his house. And also, that confusing look on Alex’s face when Stella asked her that how did he know about the deal! It all screamed out loud that something was fishy. She was not exactly suspecting him to be the man in the house but there is some link between him and that man.

Busy thinking, Stella did not even realize that they had already reached the medical store. They both went inside, still silent. Purchased the supplies and exited the store.

When they stepped out, Stella abruptly stopped Alex.

“What is wrong with my house?”

” W…..what……N….nothing.” He stammered, adding fuel to Stella’s hunch.

Now she looked him straight into the eye. “Alex, you need to tell me. The consignment, that man…… What is wrong?”

” I don’t know anything Stella. Why would you even expect me to know?”

” Don’t tell me, Alex, that you knew about the deal just because your lawyer friend told you. There is no person other than you who could have had the key to the house. I checked, there were no break-ins.”

” You are still the over-thinker that you have always been. You…..”

” Over-thinker?”

” Maybe any of your relatives kept it there. It has been seven years Stella, maybe it was always there and you forgot. You are a journalist, I know, but I don’t think that you should try to find a story in every single part of your life!”

” Alex you….”, she started angrily only to be interrupted by Alex.

” Oh come on Stella! What is wrong with you? We have met after so many years! Let me walk you back to your house and answer all your questions along the way. Fine?”

He reached out to pull a paper out of his pocket. As they turned around, a man came and gave Alex a tight slap. He snatched the paper from his hand and it got torn into halves. Four more men joined him. They pushed Alex onto the ground and started to beat him.

Stella tried to intervene but was pushed to the ground. Her knee started to bleed. As she raised her eyes, she noticed that one of the shoes had the same eagle mark as the man’s shoe that she saw in her house.

Before she could have looked at his face, they left, leaving Alex behind, bleeding and unconscious.

Time seemed to have stopped around Stella. Panic gripped her. The man from the medical store quickly called the ambulance. Everything seemed less important now. All that mattered was her best friend.

What was the connection between the events in her house and Alex? Who were these people? What did they want? Why did they beat Alex? Find out in the upcoming chapter of “When I walked through….” Follow the blog to receive an e-mail every-time we release a new chapter.