You were that lazy sip of wine under the beaming silver of falling stars. You would swirl on my skin, tingle my tongue and tease my throat till my lips would break into a dimming smile and my eyes would spill love.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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My fingers traced… they traced the chiseled edges of your jaw just like they run over the cracked hem of my wine glass.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
You were special…⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
You… you were the rare cassette. One that’s worthy of honoring every vintage collection. Kept in a case of shimmering gold; draped in velvet.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
You would sing the songs of pinching nostalgia, paint the walls with colors of retro sepia and calm my nerves like forbidden magic.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
You were rare…⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
But then… every writer has a fancy oil lamp in her room, and I am no exception!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Every night, I feed some oil to its fire. It burns with somber brilliance and dies by midnight.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Every night, I stare at its dying flame like a doomed lunatic. I stare long enough for its soul to haunt my eyes every time I blink.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Every night, I witness fate! I listen to its hushed lessons as it howls back at me!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Flames die, you see!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Now… sitting beside those dying flames, sipping on wine out of my crooked wine glass and listening to a stuck cassette tape… I know what made you leave…⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Flames died sooner than I wanted them to!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣

 

These days, I find myself swooning over lazy afternoon naps. I may have found a strange solace in the cruel lucidity of my dreams. Well, it’s strange how sleep is my refuge in ‘our’ memories, away from the worn relics.

So, this afternoon, after I was done meandering in my beautiful dreams, I woke up…

I woke up to the taste of honey, dancing at the tip of my tongue.

An hour later, I stood there, with hot pancakes piled over my plate and the memoirs of my peaceful sleep hanging down my lashes. Warm soul hugging-fragrance of pancakes bathed in the gleaming yellows of honey… and that is how I paint winter on a white plate of bone china.

The glass jar sat in a lonely corner of the mahogany table, basking under hushed shadows of the evening twilight. Sliding into a chair, I grabbed a spoon and unscrewed the lid.

First spoon…

Second spoon…

And the third one to waltz on its way, from the tip of my tongue to the cusp at its end.

And… Ahhh! It stung! I gagged at the bitterness, stomped the plate against the table and then leaned back in my chair, frowning at the sugary scam that just stabbed me in my throat.

Right in front of my house, there is an old Sheesham tree. It has been there for years now and I wonder if it has ever heard me cry in the silence of lonely midnights… for, when I wake up to the dawns of such nights, I find some wilted leaves mourning at the ground underneath and the tree feels a little naked without them.

Four years ago, I walked up to it and drew a heart against your name, with the tip of my finger. Oh! Don’t worry, no one came to know… but, now when I walk past that well-kept secret…

The wind blows;

Leaves rustle;

And I look at the tree and sigh back… We have a language of our own.

I mean… of course, it has seen it all! From that dreamy smile, when you walked past that door for the first time… to that sly spark in my eyes, when our lips touched; from those quiet questions that yearned to leave my lips, when you left the door frowning… to that lonely sigh when you didn’t choose to return.

I am afraid… it knows way too much for comfort! I might have failed to hide the piercing hatred my eyes spat in the last four years.

I am afraid that the tree breathed in the poison of my rage, flowers wilted in the ruthless fire of my pain and some lost bees took that nectar away…

I am afraid… that those broken pieces of my heart burnt in my throat today… I am afraid that you left our story behind… and it lives here with me… I am afraid!

We live in a lost world.
We are wanderers, miserable vagabonds!
We feed on anger and breathe out fires, then cry at the sight of burnt cities and homeless hearts.
We gulp tears and our eyes bleed, then we frown at the sight of spilled gore.
We smoke ashes, bathe in swamps, wear mere shreds of envy and then flaunt our prides.
Such is our foolery.
And, in a world as lost as ours, we dream of love and preach its beauty.
Sing it to glory.
I believe; hiding behind our quest for bliss, we are at strife for a ‘home’.
Enraged by our solitude and grieving our nostalgia…we are demons!
We are demons, hiding behind a charming bouquet of scented paper roses.
We hawk those flowers and break inside the deserted hearts of our patrons, vowing to fill their void with nectar and honey.
But….
We are hungry bandits!
We rob them off their peace and leave them to suffer in the torment of heartbreak.
Dear ‘home’,
I know; I know that you are lost in this pack of howling misers and you fear the day when you will have to wake up… to the nightmare of a shattered heart and an empty soul.
I know; I know that you want to find your ‘home’, as much as I want to find you.
But… what assures you, that our greed won’t take over and we won’t abandon each other, as soon as we catch our breathes and the sores on our feet stop oozing blood?
What assures you, that our ‘forever’ won’t be just another voice in the piercing cacophony of lies and that our ‘happy ending’ will not abide to the taunting title of ‘crippled rainbows and fantasies’?
Dear ‘home’,
Don’t you fret the horror… It may be lying at the end of our quests?
Isn’t ‘homelessness’ a bliss, when the walls of your abode chase the daylight out of your life?
With love,
From the ‘home’ that you may never find.

Click here to read chapter-1.

Stella stood in front of the door; her hand was resting on the door knob 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 lets 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!

“Help me!”

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 in unpacking her suitcase. To make some place 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 an 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 face 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! Travelling 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!

THE END!

Click here to read chapter-10.

Alex slowly opened his eyes as he woke up from a long night’s sleep. His head was slightly hurting and he felt a little dizzy because of the influence of all the medicines. It took a while before he completely gained his consciousness. He looked around in hopes of finding Stella in his room, but she wasn’t there.

“Must have gone back to take rest!”

He said to himself as he smiled. Someone knocked on his door.

“Come in!”

A tall man, probably in his late twenties, entered the room.

“Yes?” A sudden fear struck Alex as he saw him.

“Hi! Alex! I am John, Stella’s boyfriend!”

Alex’s frown eased as he heard that and a small, welcoming smile took its place.

“Oh! Hi! Nice to meet you! I am sorry….”

“No! Don’t be sorry! I can totally understand! After that fight, you must have been very scared of every other stranger!”

“Yeah!” Alex smiled and nodded in agreement…then an awkward silence took abode in the room. Alex started playing with his fingers, giving away his restlessness. John sensed that.

To lighten the air and start a conversation, he asked, “Would you mind if I take that chair and sit beside your bed?”

“No! Please make yourself comfortable!”

“Thanks!”

He helped himself with the chair and sat beside Alex. There was an unforeseen change in Alex’s expression. A thought dawned over him, “If John is in the town then Stella might have gone to complete the formalities to sell the house.” Alex panicked for a second but then he took a long deep breath and came back to his senses.

“Hey, John! I am feeling a little uneasy; will you please call the nurse for me?”

“Yeah! Sure!”

John left the room to find the nurse. Meanwhile, Alex got up from his bed and reached for the phone in his room taking support from tables and chairs as they came in his way. Tripping over a few times, Alex finally managed to reach the phone, he picked up the receiver and dialed Stella’s number.

“The number you have dialed is either switched off or not reachable at the moment….”

Alex slammed the receiver on the table. “NO! NO! NO! Alex you can’t let this happen! I need to do something.”

Alex walked towards the door to inspect any signs of John coming back. He was nowhere around. Alex made his way out of the room into the corridor and started to walk towards the exit of the hospital.

“Alex!”

John called from behind. Alex stopped dead at his spot. John ran towards him and put his arm around the shoulder to support him.  “What happened? You should go and take rest!”

With a snap, Alex pulled back his arm. The force knocked Alex off his feet and he fell down.

“Alex!”

John quickly kneeled down to pick him up. “Alex, stop behaving like a kid! Tell me, where do you want to go? I will take you there!”

“John! Take me to Stella! Quick! We don’t have much time!”

“She has gone back to take rest! What’s so urgent?”

“Have you both sold the house already?”

“NO! Some formalities are yet to be completed! Why?”

Alex eased down; he gave out a deep sigh and ran his fingers through his hair. The fact that the house wasn’t sold yet was a big relief! But…But Alex needed to stop Stella before it was too late. “John! Don’t ask questions! Just take me to Stella!”

The urgency in Alex’s voice prompted John to be quick on his feet. He quickly took Alex to the car, helped him in and drove off to the house. Within no time, they were at their destination.

John helped Alex get off the car and took him towards the front door, but before they could have gone any further, Alex held John back.

“Do you hear those voices?”
Alex peeked into the front yard and pulled himself back immediately, his hand covering his mouth to imprison the cry of long-wished joy. He couldn’t believe what he just saw. He couldn’t believe that Stella and her parents were together, sitting in the front yard of their house, looking like a family.

“Is that all related to the….”

“Art gallery!” Stella’s mom intervened and then continued, “When you went away, our life felt empty. Drought doomed over our happiness. Every day, every single moment that we spent breathing felt like a pilgrimage to seek you back….” Emma pushed back her tears, the tears begged for freedom, “The only thing that brightened your father’s day was his art… he spent night and day, working on his paintings. He missed the court proceedings, his client lost their cases, his reputation as a lawyer started fading away and eventually new cases stopped coming in.”

Stella took her mother’s hands in her own as she fought with her own tears, “…eventually, our financial condition started declining, we came under debt, and everything…everything became so difficult. Your father started his own art gallery in hopes of being able to do something about the situation. He used the basement of the house to set up the gallery. By god’s grace, he was even able to secure good deals for his paintings but as soon as the lenders got to know about the hefty price that we were being paid for the paintings, they planned to smuggle them away and started trading on them. All those people who you came across with in the past few days were the landlords and the money lenders. God bless Alex, he has been protecting us against them since years. We decided to not tell you about any of this so that you can be at peace in your world.”

“Then why did you transfer the house in my name? You could have sold it and paid back the debt!”

“A life drowned under debt is much more comfortable than a life spent yearning for the memories of our beloved daughter. We were in debt but selling this house would have rendered us poor.”

Alex and John didn’t even realize when they entered the yard while listening to the conversation.

Stella opened her mouth to say something but she ditched her words when she saw them.

“Alex! John!”

After getting to know about her parents’ feelings for the house, will Stella still be able to sell it? How will her calling affect her relationships? What new turn will her life take now?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.

 

 

Click here to read chapter-9.

Stella gasped! She was terrified!

Standing in front of the window, pressing her hands against it, she could not believe that she was about to meet her parents. She could not believe that after whatever she did, her parents would still want to meet her!

It felt as if, in that moment Stella lost all her ability to think and act! She stood there like a statue-still, silent and almost lifeless!

Her parents rang the doorbell once again, Stella came back to her conscious with a sharp jolt! The window in front of her was now all fogged up because of the warmth of her breath, she wiped off the fog using one of her hands, revealing the shiny glass from behind, fairly reflecting back the image of her face! Stella could read the fear and remorse in her eyes, she could see that little girl screaming and wailing inside her…asking for help!

The suffocation in that prison of guilt was much more torturous than the suffocation of not being able to follow her dreams!

Her parents rang the bell two more times. It prompted her to shout back,“Coming!”Those words left her mouth, leaving behind tremors of fear.

NO….NO! Stella was not ready! She was not ready to face her parents. She clutched her hair above her head, her heartbeat peaked, and her face was flushed with pink!

She was still standing in front of the window, allowing panic to engulf her existence when she suddenly saw her mom. Her face had a faint smile with a wet trail starting from the corner of her eye honoring the tear that was just let out from her heart. Stella could sense an excitement on her face. She was holding David’s arm like Stella used to hold hers. David, her father was standing meekly at her mother’s side, his hand resting against the door, trying his best to not spill out his emotions.

“Stella!” he called out, his voice choking on tears. Stella quickly ran to the door and opened it. Seeing her parents, she froze.

“Stella!” her mom whispered to herself as she let out her treasured tears. She weakly walked towards Stella and hugged her.

The warmth and comfort in that hug changed something inside Stella’s heart. The glacier that was building up since the last seven years suddenly melted down. She burst into tears, wrapping her arms around her mom.

Her dad was standing there, being a silent spectator, admiring the beauty of the moment, holding back his own tears.

Stella looked at him, her face lightened up with a faint smile. The wounds of the past stood like a wall between them. For a moment, there was just silence. Her father smiled back at her but then left the doorway to go sit on the bench in the front yard.

Her mom turned around, just in the moment to see him walk out. She looked back at Stella, gave her a reassuring nod and then followed David into the yard.

He was sitting on the bench, cupping his face in his hands, his tears held hostage in his eyes. Stella’s mother went and sat on the bench near him, resting an arm on his shoulder.

“We talked about this, right?”

“I know! We did! But I don’t know what to say, what to do?” David replied as he rubbed his eyes to wipe any tears that might have escaped.

Meanwhile, Stella was standing in the doorway, holding the edge of the door, looking towards them. Stella’s mom motioned her to join them. She silently walked towards them, her hands clutched tight in a fist. She went to her dad and sat on the ground on her knees in front of him, with her hands gently resting on his knees.

Her dad seized to rub his face and looked towards her. The overwhelming emotions that he got to see in her eyes pinched his soul, they haunted him! He quickly turned his face away!

“I am sorry dad!” Stella tried to break the ice, her voice quivering with tears.

Her dad looked at her, his eyes all teared up.

“You read the letter?”

“Hmmm…!” Stella nodded and then added, “I could read only half of the letter. The other half was torn away in a brawl that Alex had with someone…”

“I know! I met Alex at the hospital!”

“How did you know that he will be at the hospital?”

David stared blankly at Stella. Emma, her mom, pressed his hand. He looked at her, unsure what to say next. She blinked her eyes in approval.

“Stella, I am sorry! I…I know that I was wrong seven years ago. I know that I have hurt you a lot….but trust me…I had no intentions of forcing anything upon you…” David pressed his lips and gave out a sigh.

“Ummm…when you left us, I was broken and a little mad too…not because you ran away… but …because no matter how much I tried, I could not fathom the fact that it was me telling you to give up on your dreams. I could not fathom my behavior. I lived an entire life feeling unsatisfied and empty just because I could not get the opportunity to follow the dreams that I had… How could I have possibly been an obstacle in someone else’s path?” David paused for a moment, trying to read through Stella’s eyes. His heart yearned for the pain that he saw in them. With a heavy heart, he continued, “….So, after you went away, I started an art gallery. Every single day that I spent working on my paintings, I felt proud of you…I felt proud of the fact that my daughter has a heart brave enough to go against every force in the world to follow her dreams but…. I am guilty of still not being able to overcome my fear of losing you forever.

I am guilty that I still have not been able to come in terms with my insecurities. I am guilty that I still hope for you to come back home!

I hate myself for never being able to grow out of the eerie feeling that I felt when you told me that you want to leave the city to chase your dreams!

I hate myself for saying ‘No’ then and I hate myself even more for not being able to change my answer in all these years!”

Stella pulled David in a hug as they both cried their heart out. Emma rubbed Stella’s back as she cried.

“Dad, it wasn’t just your fault! I am as guilty as you are! I should have tried to understand your point of view, may be waited a little longer before taking such a drastic step! Please don’t blame yourself!”

David broke out of the hug and kissed Stella on the forehead. She giggled like a little girl. There was a big smile on everybody’s face. “I love you Dad! I love you Mom!” she pulled both of them in a hug.

“I don’t have the ability to reverse all the damage that has already been done. I just hope we can be a loving family once again!”

Stella smiled as she said that…then curiosity took the hold of her…

“Dad, do you know anything about….”

David read her mind, “Yes! All that you experienced in the house, the fight that Alex got into…I knew everything….in fact…”

“Is that all related to the….”

“Art Gallery!” her mom intervened!

How is the art gallery related to the strange events that took place? What turn is Stella’s life going to take now?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.

Click here to read chapter-8

Stella was standing in front of the door of her house. She clutched her bag in her arms. Her heart was scared, scared of the storm ahead! She looked at the door knob, the sole hindrance between her and her parents, the last wall between her and her dreams; or the last thread holding her family together.

She took a deep breath and twisted the knob. The door opened into the living room. Its decor inspired by the early nineties. The brown color of the walls pushed the room even farther away in time. Her father was sitting in the armchair, reading newspaper and holding his coffee in his left hand. While her Mom, she was in the kitchen. There was a faint aroma of freshly baked bread in the house.

The commotion in the doorway attracted her father’s attention. He was now looking towards her from behind his newspaper, his lips graced with a wide and sunny smile. The smile dawned over his wrinkles, making them look like the engravings of some old and celebrated monument.

That precious smile made Stella feel weak in the knees. Somewhere deep in her heart she knew that today was the farewell of the serenity in this paradise.

The conquest of chasing dreams was despised in her family since the day Stella lost her elder brother to his blazing ambitions.

She knew that her parents would never be convinced on letting her travel the same path.

Her father gave her a welcoming smile.

“Hi dear! How was your day?”

“My day was great dad! What about yours?”

“Well, my day was nothing less than exhausting!” he giggled and motioned her to sit on the near-by sofa.

She forced a smile on her face and sat there.

“So are you planning any trip after your graduation? Come on! You have hardly ever gone on a trip with your friends. Learn to have some fun Stella!”

“Actually, that is a great idea!”, exclaimed her mom as she entered the living room with some freshly baked loaves of bread. She placed the bread on the table and continued, “You should plan a nice relaxing trip with your friends. You have been studying the whole year, you need a vacation! Just look at you, you look exhausted!”

She hugged Stella from behind as she said this. Stella placed her hand gently on her mom’s arm and pressed it in reassurance with a plastered smile on her face.

She wanted to smile genuinely, but a fog of doubt and fear surrounded her happiness. It had been an entire week since she received her call letter from New York. Her application was accepted in an elite course in journalism.

She coiled back her fingers giving in to the questions in her brain, closed her eyes and then loudly announced in a single breath.

“I want to go to New York to pursue journalism! I know that you might not welcome my choice…but….I truly want to chase my dreams and ambitions! I know, whatever my brother had to go through was very unfortunate. It was unfortunate that he decided to end his life because he could not be successful in his endeavors…but …all that does not mean that even I will meet the same fate! Please, just give me one chance!”

For a moment, there was complete silence. No one spoke further. Stella mustered up her courage and opened her eyes in hopes of witnessing the light of agreement in her parents’ eyes, but rather she saw sternness.

Her parents looked at each other and then looked back at her. In a monotonous tone, her father said, “NO!” Then he got up from his chair and gave Stella a final look of disapproval before he exited the room!

Stella turned to face her mother. “Mom?” She gave her a sad nod and went back to the kitchen.

Stella saw her worst fears see the light of the day in that moment. She clutched her bag even tighter, rushed to her room and closed the door. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she leaned her forehead against the door and cried for the rest of the night.

“Stella!”John gently stroked her hair, abruptly pulling her out of her thoughts.

Stella was still hugging John. That hug reminded her of the first day, when they met. The wounds of her heart were still red then; she was broken, lonely, distressed; she dreaded her fate. The fort of her life was standing on a single fragile and decaying pillar, and just when the onlookers predicted its demise, John came there like a savior! Not only did he hold the roof when it was about to fall, but he also mended the cracks that time left on the withering pillar.

Reminiscence of the memories of their togetherness lit up Stella’s face. She lifted up her head from his shoulder and looked into his eyes, smiling from behind her tears. John smiled back.

“Excuse me, Sir!”

John and Stella looked towards the door to find their lawyer standing there. They immediately broke apart from the hug, their faces still flushed with pink.

Their lawyer, a man in his late forties, gave away a mocking grin to applaud the scene. He coughed and regained his composure.

“Hello, Ms. Stella! How are you?”

“I am fine…How are you?”

“I am fine too…. and I promise that you are going to feel even better when I break the good news to you!”

He said as he beamed with pride!

“What good news?”

“I have completed all the paperwork required for the deal. You just have to sign on the dotted line and you will be done with that property!”

Those words stung Stella in her heart like a thousand needles.

“So soon….You said that you needed more time! John?”

“It has been three days Stella!”

Because of all the events that took place in the last three days, Stella completed lost the track of time.

“Three days?” she looked at her phone. It had indeed been three days.

“Stella, I think you should go back, freshen up and relax a bit. I am here, I will take care of Alex and all the paperwork! You can come back later to complete rest of the formalities!”

“Yeah! I think you are right!”

She excused herself out of the room. The way back home was crowded with thoughts. It was Stella, who wished to sell the house, she wanted to move on in life, wanted to leave all the agony behind…. but her stay in the town, her father’s letter, meeting Alex…all of that changed her…. now she wanted her family back!

She reached home and stood in front of the door for a while. It was the last time that she would be entering her house. This thought shook her soul.

After a while, she pushed the door open and entered the living room. It felt like her childhood was coming back to life once again. A bittersweet smile dawned on her face.

She went around the room, picking up every single article, trying to relive every single memory….just then….the door bell rang!

It confused her. No one was expected to visit her. She rushed to the window to identify the visitor.

“Mom! Dad!”

Will Stella be able to face her parents? Which way will her story turn now?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.

 

 

 

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 axe 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 heart beat 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 mould 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.

 

 

Click here to read chapter-6

There are some people who 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 towards 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.

 

 

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 on 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 heart ache.

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 in 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.