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, at 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 intention 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, maybe 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 can’t 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.