(common man continued….)
“Oh hallo mein lieber, Guten Morgen!” (Oh hello my dear, Good Morning) Gerald greeted Stella with a warm hug. “It is extremely lovely to see you here”. “Good Morning Gerald. I’m glad to be here!” She greeted him in return. Gerald and Raphael greeted each other as well but with a smirk. “Come on in Stella. I shall introduce you to my family.” “Sure” she replied. Gerald’s family stood in a line for the introduction. They seemed joyful and their spirit brought out glee in Stella. She felt lively around them at once. “How can there be such nice people on this earth that go unnoticed” she wondered. Gerald pulled up his pants and shook his belt before the introduction. It seemed cute. “This young girl here is Susan, my granddaughter”. “Oh hello Susan. How are you this morning?” “I’m fine Aunt Stella.” “How old are you?” “Seven” “Wow. You’re a big girl. And you’re very pretty”. “Thank You” Susan beamed as she jetted towards her mom. Danielle welcomed Stella with a hug saying, “Hello Stella, I’m Danielle, Gerald’s daughter-in-law.” “Hey Danielle you’re very pretty. Now I see where Susan gets it from!” she complimented her with a shy smile at Susan. From behind Danielle, Susan waved at Raphael. He waved back at her with a wink. “This is Benjamin, my son.” Gerald continued his introduction. “Hello Stella, nice to meet you” Benjamin spoke planting a kiss on her hand. “Nice to meet you too, Benjamin.” Raphael continued to follow Stella as she greeted each person. “This beautiful lady here is my wife Olivia; the whole and soul responsible person for keeping us knit as one family; my world” Gerald cheered his way towards Olivia placing his hands on her shoulder. “You’re adorable Miss Olivia. It’s a pleasure to meet you” Stella chanted. “It’s Olivia dear” she said hugging Stella. “You’re beautiful.” “Thank you Olivia” Stella responded. Raphael greeted Olivia as soon as Stella moved. “Oh and haven’t you met the most mischievous yet clever, imaginative yet compassionate, little brother of mine?” Benjamin roared with a sly walk towards Gerald. “I don’t understand” Stella looked confused. “This is Raphael, my son” Gerald blurted without further ado; “My younger brother!” Benjamin exclaimed lifting Raphael in a hug. “You’ve got to be joking. Raphael, is your son?” Stella was perplexed. “You didn’t let out a whiff about this. You pretended like you didn’t know them one bit. Gosh I hate you!” Stella ranted as she punched Raphael in the stomach. Raphael caught his ears whispering sorry but she looked the other way. “He’s always been a naughty kid Stella” Olivia convinced her. “Come let’s have some breakfast. You must be hungry.” Olivia began setting the table. “Umm…do you think I could get a pair of clothes? I’ve been in these 2 days in a row” Stella requested Danielle. “Yes. Come with me”. They walked up the stairs to a room that felt untouched for years. The décor of the room was enchanting. Lush green painted walls reflected harmony, floral curtains added their touch of freshness, and everything else was surrounded with an aura Stella didn’t know of. Danielle picked up a bright yellow floral short dress for Stella from the wardrobe. “Here, this will look good on you”. “Thanks. Whose room is this?” “Ummmm… No…No one. Get dressed. We’re waiting at the breakfast table for you”. Danielle stammered her way down the stairs.
Stella changed into the dress and admired herself for a minute in the mirror. She felt different in that dress; she felt a lot prettier but a feeling lingered within; that the dress didn’t belong to her. Just as she was about to turn, Raphael knocked at the door. “Are you ready yet?” he enquired. “Yes” she glided towards him. Raphael stood still. He gazed at her to meet her eyes. Amazed as he could be, he took a step forward while she took one back. The dresser was an obstruction else Stella would have touched the wall. She didn’t understand Raphael that time and didn’t know if she had to say anything at all. He moved the hair from her forehead cupping her cheek in his palm. Raphael pulled her chin up and close; her eyes followed his gape. She was captivated. His lips brush against Stella’s as he whispers “You look beautiful Viola; Beautiful as always”. “V.I.O.L.A” did he say Viola? Stella pushed him off stating “Its Stella”. “What is?” he asked. “My name is Stella not Viola”. Raphael baffled his way back down fumbling “I’m sorry”. Stella didn’t want to contemplate on this but she was hurt and had a little tear. She couldn’t perceive why she felt this way and now “VIOLA” the name was enough to impair.
Stella hushed down to the table and found a wide spread breakfast waiting. She wasn’t hungry anymore nor did she want to dishearten Gerald and his family. “You look amazing in that dress Stella” Benjamin, Gerald and Olivia accolade. “You all are too kind” Stella murmured. “Take a seat” Gerald chimed. Stella sat beside Olivia and exactly opposite Raphael. She pretended he never existed there. Olivia offered Stella croissants and tea. She could also eat sausages with toast, butter, jam or margarine. Engaging in conversation with Olivia, Stella asked her about their marriage. “Love works in wondrous ways my dear. I hated the very sight of him. Gerald was one of those shenanigans covered in leather jackets and boots belonging to the rich category. Women were toys for them. I’d always keep away from him.” “But in the end she fell in love with me” Gerald smirked at Olivia. “Gerald had a bet with his friends. They under estimated this man. They found him adversely popular among the rich bratty women so they challenged him to a fling with a petit small town woman and coincidentally we crossed paths”. Gerald took over “Ha ha ha yes and then I walked up to her telling her how I loved the way she dressed and her style of reading books; without coquetry. She’d sit all day at the park reading novels that were immensely boring” Gerald teased Olivia. “Aye aye watch it mister” Olivia pat Gerald at the back. “I ignored him at most occasions but his persistence made me fall in love with him. For him it was winning the bet but for me it was purely love”. “She didn’t believe me when I told her I am in love with her because my friends had already briefed her on the bet. She refused to see my face but like she said, my persistence made her fall in love with me; again”. Gerald winked his way at Stella teasing Olivia. “We lived in Europe earlier. But when my parents migrated to Berlin, I had to leave with them. I tried meeting Olivia so that I could persuade her to come along but she never believed my love for her. And I didn’t manage to make time for her. I also thought it to be of no use because she simply wouldn’t believe me. Ya know, she’s a tough cookie!” Gerald continued. “Yes indeed I am” Olivia was proud of that. Stella enjoyed their company and was engrossed in their conversation. “So he left with his family and I didn’t know a thing. I assumed he didn’t want to meet me or see me. Typical spoilt kid attitude must have taken over. I was hurt. I just didn’t want to display it. I continued living my life. One day I happened to come across his friends who asked me if I was in contact with Gerald. I denied. That’s when they realised I wasn’t aware he’s gone. When they broke out the news to me, I felt miserable. I didn’t know how to get in touch with him and we didn’t even have telephones those days to speak, at least I didn’t have. Adding to it, I had no address to even communicate. Helplessly I carried on with my life. After 8 months, I received his letter. My joy was boundless. I still have it…wait I’ll show you. You can read it” Olivia was euphoric. She asked Danielle to get the letter from her room. Stella had butterflies as she unfolded the letter.
“My dear Olivia
I apologise for not letting you know about my migration. It happened suddenly and I found no time to make it to you. I know you must be hurt. I feel hurt too. Your forgiveness will be my strength.
I hope you are doing well. We are doing well here. Everything is set.
However there is one piece of information that may not interest you. My parents have found a bride for me. She belongs to an equally rich family here. They are keen on my marriage. I, on the other hand, am in love with you. I have no clue of your feelings towards me but I needed to give this one more try.
I love you Olivia. This is my last chance to bring you into my life.
You will find enclosed an air ticket dated 25 August. I will be waiting at the airport to receive you. Your decision will be respected.
“Wow. This letter is powerful. I can feel your pain in it Gerald” Stella spoke softly with a nod at Gerald. “So what happened next?” she enquired. “Oh well, Mommy left everything behind and flew to Berlin. A small Goodbye note to her parents spoke for her endeavours” Benjamin’s outburst was loud. “This story is told to everyone who steps into this house!”
“Daddy, its Grandpa and Grandma’s love; Celebrate it” Susan confidently looked at Benjamin with a wide teethy smile. “That’s right young lady” Stella agreed with a hi-five to Susan. “Mommy, she’s just like aunt Viola, isn’t she?” “Viola?” Stella was chaotic! Olivia changed the topic right away, “Stella, you know what happened next?” Stella shifted focus unconvinced and nodded in question. “I read the letter over and over until I made up my mind to leave. It is difficult but I had to. So I left a goodbye note for my parents and left. When I arrived Berlin, as apprehensive as could be, Gerald’s glimpse was relieving. His arms were welcoming. I kissed him right away! We didn’t have words to be exchanged at all”. “Yes, Olivia and I were married in two days and here we are 40 years later, bathing in love like newlyweds”. Gerald pecked Olivia on the cheek. “Your story is splendid. I’m fascinated. We don’t find fables like yours anymore. Everything is Technology oriented now.” Stella conveyed her notion.
Stella liked Gerald’s family. They were sweet and indulging. She learnt from them that ‘Home isn’t a place, it is a feeling’. They had hands to build their daily living but their hearts built their home. Gerald’s family was a circle of love and strength that founded on faith and joined in love. Anybody would give away everything to be in this kind of home. They were mere common people just like you and me. Their happiness dwelt from one another and tears wept when someone is hurt. They pray for rain, healthy children and never ending summers. They crack jokes, envy, make friends, and wish for the best. They make the best people on earth; probably justifies why God made so many of them.
Stella was sceptic about VIOLA. That name performed a piroutte in her mind. She had questioning eyes aimed for answers; a leer that couldn‘t go unnoticed. Raphael tried to speak to Stella but she didnt want to look at him. She felt hurt within without mere understanding about why she felt that way.
While Olivia and Danielle cleared the table, Stella spoke “Thank you for this sumptous breakfast Gerald and Olivia. I’ve never eaten such delicious home baked crossionats in ages.“ Olivia’s warm smile spoke about her gratitude. Instantly Raphael muttered, “Can i talk to you upstairs?“ “NO!“ Stella exclaimed loud and clear. Raphael wanted to apologise for addressing her as Viola but Stella wouldn‘t give him a chance. He had no intention of explaining Viola to her but Stella didnt think so. She needed him to explain along with his apology, but she sensed he was not ready yet. So to avoid any conflict, she steered her intentions enroute to Benjamin, Susan and Gerald.