The first ray of sunshine entered the room with light, feather-like steps of a mother. The ray caressed her face as if gently coaxing her to open her eyes and welcome the arrival of a new day. Isa had always loved to be woken up her mother. And it astounds her to still feel the same touch of love even after four years of her mother’s demise.

Later in the morning, after cleaning-up herself, Isa decided to buy the day’s breakfast from her favourite bakery. With a skip in her steps, Isa walked to the door.

Exiting the building, Isa caught the sight of Mr Thomas waving her a good morning in his usual joyous fashion. With a gentle and affectionate smile, she waved him back. Mr Thomas was a kind and optimistic elderly man. And he always seemed to lift up her spirits.

Walking down to bus stand was a silent affair. The street at where she resides was always a quiet one. Five ticks later, Isa was boarding the bus for the bakery.

As soon as she climbed up the bus, all eyes were on her. Yeah! That happens every time when anyone new boards a bus. But this time their eyes weren’t full of curiosity, instead, they were filled with distaste, patronization, dread and detestation. The tension in the air was enough to make her feel unwelcomed. With still shoulders, head bowed and eyes on the aisle, Isa walked down to the seat at the rightmost end of the bus. The seat was isolated enough to let her successfully avoid the rest of the occupants of the bus. She could still feel some wandering eyes on her, pocking and judging every part of her visible skin. These were the kind of instances when she feels –extremely lonely and weak. She could never ask the others to stop looking at her. No, she wasn’t bold enough for that. Henceforth, she had made a habit of hiding herself without hurting her self-respect. She would forget about her surroundings and would imagine a different, happy world.  

Isa has always visualized the world as a big, beautiful garden and the different souls as its flowers. Once, there was a beauteous flower among the others. It was accepted and adored by all. But then one day, the cruel life cursed it to the depths of hell. The flower withered away in the blowing wind leaving behind the lonely stem and soon the other flowers began to despise the stem. But then there was the almighty gardener of the beautiful garden, whose heart was dancing in glee, for once again he had created a masterpiece. Sometimes we, the simple human beings, are incapable of seeing the true beauty, the complete picture which mostly is much bigger than our sight ability.

Thirty minutes later Isa climbed down the bus making the rest sigh out loud in relief. Their tyrannical behaviour didn’t go unnoticed by her. With heavy heart and urgency in her steps, Isa began walking down to her destination. The day was Monday-an early morning too and in a busy city, you don’t find streets on a Monday favourable for a walk. The sea of office-going, extra-expeditious humans take it up to themselves to make your morning a living nightmare. Although that day they didn’t seem to be insistent enough to rush straight to their destination still they did give a hard time to Isa. There was an obvious sign of hostility in their disposition. The grey beings tried their hardest to dodge the girl as if she was carrying some contagious disease. Picking up her speed, Isa tried to ignore the cold treatment being served to her.

And soon she was walking into the bakery.

With her tummy full and heart filled with happiness to the brim, Isa walked out of the bakery. ‘Cupcakes and tea’ –the bakery has been a safe haven for Isa for a long time. The kind people in the bakery had easily accepted Isa with all her flaws. Every time she visited them, a tiny flicker of hope of having a normal life lights in her dark heart.

Walking briskly to the bus stand, head bowed, Isa missed the person busy in his phone. They both walked straight into each other. With an ‘oomph’ Isa stumbled back, barely getting a grip on her balance at last minute. The collision had shaken her to the core. With a deep breath and a lame effort in composing herself, she looked up, making her swore under her breath as her heart beat distorted in its rhythm.

Two crystal blue eyes peered down at her. There was something different in them-they were so pure, letting you see the soul deep within. Their oceanic colour bespeaking of the ocean of emotions the eyes could express. Followed by eyes was a magisterial and stupendous nose. It was elegantly- straight- enough to make Michelangelo weep with utter joy. Her eyes wandered all over the stranger’s face, taking the note of the whispers of dark, trimmed hair on his cheeks; light stubble suited him. Taking in every cervix of his face, her greedy eyes finally halted at a pair of thin upper and full lower, red lips. The same lips which were set in a straight line at the instance. With a loud gulp, Isa looked back into those hypnotic eyes. And the emotion she caught in them made her sweat profusely. For the first time in her life, she had seen an ocean on fire. The rage, annoyance and repulsion were clear in them.   And before Isa could apologise for the mishap, the stranger spoke in his deep, husky voice but harsh tone-

“Some people should know not to leave their house. Their presence could prove to be an ugly omen for others. Watch and walk for the next time”, and with that said he walked away, dodging Isa the same way like others, shattering her heart into thousands of pieces in the process.

While the stranger went down his merry way, Isa was transfixed at the same place. Her eyes were gazing into the mirror of the shop beside the walking path. The face that reflected back was the answer to the riddle of the life of Isa. Instead of fine, shaped eyebrows, the face held the half-grown, half-burnt pair. Her nose wasn’t elegant straight; instead, it was pudgy and crooked. Her cheeks were not soft and flushed; instead they were covered with one long scar and deeply burnt skin. Deep, brown eyes and red, plush lips were the only socially acceptable features on her face. In this pretentious world, nobody cared that her seventy percent body was burnt in an accident, nobody cared about the trauma. They were only concerned with the perfection of their little world.

With eyes burning from the unshed tears and throat tensed from suppressing a sob, Isa turned around and began walking down to the bus stop.

The whole way, Isa was in trance. She didn’t even care about the looks being passed around her on the bus. Her whole entity was in shock and somewhere deep within she was burning in agony. It wasn’t the first time that someone was harsh on her. But the rejection from the stranger had shattered her tediously- built confidence bruised her guarded heart and had fueled up her inner demons once again.

Walking into the warmth of her home, Isa straight away headed to her studio. Years of agony had finally turned her into an artist. She painted away her pain, giving life to the colours. Isa had already held her first exhibition while the second was in few days.

Looking down at the bare canvas and pallets of colours beside it, Isa took a long breath, collected her thoughts and began giving life to emotions.

She used red and different shades of orange. There were few strokes of green and black was used too. Red and dark orange were the flames covering the light shade of the same. The flames were like curls bouncing down on the naked shoulder of a girl. Her face was surrounded by painful red flames and strokes of green were marring her face. Her eyes were crystal green bespeaking of the agony caused by her inner demons. Though the painting was of worldly torment still somewhere it depicted the bravado of a broken soul. The red fiery spirit was still fighting with the green monsters of death. And maybe Isa was still clinging to the last thread of hope.

In these past years, the world didn't leave a single chance of tormenting Isa. At first, it was so hard to overcome the pain of the accident for her. But when she did overcame it, nobody was ready to support her. Her remaining of the family had abandoned her. They didn't want an extra luggage. Though her degrees qualified her for a decent job yet she was rejected from everywhere. They told her she was too hideous to work with them. She was deep in debt and feared to be homeless. But then one day, her eyes caught the sight of her paintings. Before the accident, Isa was used to painting for the peace of her mind. She could still remember how her heart had skipped a beat when a sudden idea had struck her. She decided to make her hobby as the way of earning her bread and butter. She had hosted a website where she exhibits her paintings. It took her few days to get any positive review but when she did, it was worth it. Soon, the business flourished and she began earning profits. Life had really been tough on her but then again she was a woman, a bearer of intense strength, passion and hope. Her fiery spirit was strong enough to fight with the cruel blows of wind. And so she did and still continue to do; for she deserves the happiness as much as the other person.

At the darkest of hours, Isa finally puts away the completed painting. Though the poetry of colours had helped her in restoring the broken piece of her confidence still some deep part of her soul very well knew of the missing piece of her heart.

It had been a week since the bakery incident. The night of her second exhibition had forced her to once again leave the safe confines of her home. Isa was adorned in an elegant silk green gown. Her hair was loose and the brown in her eyes was enhanced by Kohl.   The admirers appreciated her work. Though there were some raised eyebrows at her appearance still there wasn’t an outright show of distaste. The whole night Isa conversed with different class of admirers. Reporters took her interview, admirers took her autograph and buyers paid an insane price for her work. It was the last hour of the evening when one of her agents informed her of a rich business tycoon insisting to meet her. With a loud sigh of exhaustion but spirits, high Isa walked down the corridor to the hall room. On entering the almost empty room, Isa found a man observing her painting. The painting was the same one that she drew on the bakery incident day and to her horror, the admirer was the same stranger.

The man was keenly observing her painting while Isa stood still just a few feet’s away. Isa’s heart soared on his appearance; he was looking even more handsome. And then her heart skipped the beat when she saw those luscious lips breath out a word in a mere whisper making her ears ring out loud with the compliment-“Beautiful”.

With a warm feeling in her heart and a smile adorned on lips, Isa turned away from the stranger. The painful memory was forcing her to walk away for the safety of her wounded heart.

But then, the same deep and husky voice halted her steps.

“Miss Isa Williams?”

And her name never sounded so enchanting in life.

With a deep breath, having no other option Isa turned around facing the stranger. And as soon as their eyes collided with each other, a low gasp echoed in the otherwise silent hall.

It is said that ,’The stars aligned on that night, heard two heart beats skipped in rhythm and witnessed two pair of eyes peering deep in each others soul’.