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“You’re having a bad day, not a bad life” I guess it’s right. It’s like making a permanent decision in a temporary mood. It’s never good to act on a situation that’s going to leave a long term effect, when in reality, that moment is just passing you by. But isn’t that just all of life? Life just passing you by. Incorrect. Well, partly correct but slightly incorrect. Life is just passing you by, it doesn’t freeze in time. However we have to selectively pick the life we want, and live it. Choose those experiences that we can re-live again and again in cherished memories. Only if everyone could see that a bad day is not a bad life. It is difficult to control the mind, as it is made to wonder. But this is what we spend the majority of our lives doing; expanding and trying to gain control of how we think, our perceptions and judgements of people and situations. Without an imaginative mind, you simply have no vision, and without vision you have no life. But here’s where the story begins…

It’s when she looked out at the horizon, that he could read her feelings. She spoke for the first time, not through her lips but through her eyes. Each eye told a different story, one of happiness and one of sorrow, and they streamed down her face. “1969 – 2004. It’s not the date we came into this world, or the date we died that counts; it’s the time in the middle. That little dash in the middle this what represents how we spent our time on this earth. And it is only our loved ones that know what that little dash in the middle is worth.

Trapped in a house, for the majority of her life. Always poisoned about the outside world, she was filled with fear about the danger of what if’s. This stopped her from venturing, finding herself. But what could she do? She didn’t know what was out there. So how could she want something that she didn’t know existed? It’s called instinct and human nature. Her longing to be wanted, loved and accepted is an internal desire. She did not have to be taught how to feel, it came naturally.

Bella was born different. There was not another person in this world like her. She could read and understand people on a level that no other human could. Other people’s pain, was her pain and their happiness was her happiness. Bella was an empath and could physically and mentally feel the emotions of other people. It was a gene, passed down through the women in her family. Once a curse, by an evil witch, who hexed a woman and further generations of women in her ancestor’s family. Bella knew of this curse, but she didn’t know that this was her blessing in disguise.

It was the summer of 2003, the sun was peeping through the curtains and onto her face. Each glow like a diamond reflection. The low howling of the wind would cause the brittle tree branch to tap against her window every morning, acting as her alarm clock. Bella slowly opened her eyes to the four walls she had always confided in. It is true what they say, if these walls could speak, it would be hard for the world to tell truth from farce, in a story where everyone is a lair.

Her storybook opened. Her light brown, glistening eyes greeted the world. It was a new day, another page of this story. She could smell her mother cooking breakfast. Bella leaped out of her bed and into her slippers.

She was racing down the hallway and came to a sudden halt. Her light brown eyes widened but disappeared, and slowly turned into a greyish white. This was Bella’s curse in action. She was outside Leo’s room. Leo was a tenant in the house. Ever since the death of Bella’s father, they needed the extra income to help keep their house. So they rented out the spare room to a local university student. However, Leo and Bella had never met face to face for the two and a half years he lived there. There was one strict condition. Leo and Bella were not allowed to meet face to face. They communicated through walls and different rooms, but never in front of each other. Bella’s mother had forbidden them to be in the same room or within proximity of each other. Leo never knew the reason why and was never allowed to question it. It was crucial that Bella’s curse could not be known to the world.

“Good morning, Bella. It’s a beautiful day outside, isn’t it? You should enjoy the sunshine today.” Leo said behind his closed door. The warmth from Leo’s voice travelled through her body. Bella could feel what other people could feel; happiness, kindness and generosity. However, she could also feel the bad, the pain, fear, heartbreak and soul crushing moments. The curse was designed to destroy the human internally by dealing with the foreign emotions of others.

Generations ago, Bella’s great grandmother was cursed by a malevolent, satanic woman who was filled with jealousy. She cursed her to feel all the pain in the world and to suffer it. It drove the women of their generation crazy and ultimately led to their untimely death. It was hard enough to control their own feelings but to then juggle foreign emotions that do not belong to them eventually drove them insane.

“M-Morn-Morning Leo,” She stuttered. “I will, you do too,” Bella concluded. As Leo walked away back from his bedroom door, Bella’s eyes turned back to their original mud-coloured look. Leo was no longer in the proximity for Bella to feel his emotions any longer. She was brought back to reality and realized she had one of her occurrences. She continued to race down the stairs to the kitchen. She greeted her mother with a warm, good morning hug. As Bella and her mother both shared the curse, they were completely normal around each other, they didn’t feel each other’s emotions.

Bella’s mother taught her everything she knew. She taught Bella the basics of life and how women of their family would live. Bella knew she was different, so she never once argued or fought for a normal life. She knew the implications and the dangers of her curse. Bella thought to herself, questioning whether her life was going the way it should be, and she began to doubt everything. Allowing these doubts to grow and latch onto her thought processes. But she knew to break away from doubt’s shackles is not an easy process. And to do it alone is impossible. Bella would spend her days being creative. She loved to read, write and draw. Sitting there in the conservatory, soaking up the sunrays, she would draw and write about a life she dreamed of living and educated herself about the outside world by reading.

During the day, Leo would be out of the house. He would be at the University of Canterbury Christ Church, where he studied Psychology. Leo would then return in the early hours of the evening. He would cook himself dinner, clean up after himself, and head back to his room. Leo and Bella would communicate through the walls. They would talk for hours about their days. Bella would leave her drawings and writings on the table for Leo to see when he returned, and they would discuss any topic in the world.

Leo loved speaking to Bella, he found her mind fascinating. Bella couldn’t explore the outside world so she would explore it through Leo’s mind and the experiences he shared with her. Leo knew what Bella looked like, there were pictures around the house and on the walls. He would walk around the house and look at them while talking to Bella through the walls. He envisaged her smile when she giggled at his jokes, how her long lashes would flutter when she blinked. Even though he had never seen Bella in person, he was in love with her mentally. When Bella would speak to Leo through the walls, her eyes were always the greyish white. She would feel his gentle nature and soft spot for her. It filled Bella with a warmth she had never felt before. This is what she enjoyed the most about Leo.

“So, that’s what my dissertation proposal is going to be about,” Leo said. They were having one of their late night conversations through the walls. Bella’s back was pressed gently against the wall, her eyes, once again a greyish white. “That sounds amazing, Leo. I can’t believe as humans we don’t have control of one hundred percent of our brain. For us to have only ten percent control is absurd. What controls the other ninety percent? Answer me that.” Bella persistently asked. “That is what I am currently researching, Bella. We as humans are still trying to prove and disprove what certain parts of the brain do. Do you know that back in Ancient Egyptian times, they believed that the heart was the seat of intelligence because when they used to mummify the bodies, the brain was regularly removed.” Bella and Leo conversed like this every night, until the early hours of the morning. They spoke about anything and everything, and the more they talked the deeper in love they fell for each other.

Leo ached to see Bella. He would try to be in the same room as her, but she would leave as soon as he would enter. It became difficult for them both, as the more they talked, the more they wanted to see each other. Bella’s mother knew, she could feel the passion from Leo in regards to her daughter, however she could feel the pain of him not being able to see her. But Bella’s mother stood her ground. The fear of the secret being known was greater than every other emotion she felt. In time, it wasn’t only Leo who was restless. Bella also became apprehensive. She started to question everything she was, and everything she knew. They both started to push boundaries to be together, but all attempts became futile as the mother would be successful in keeping them apart.

Bella’s natural instincts became stronger than how her mother had nurtured her, the way she had trained her to think. She was always taught that she would never survive in the outside world, people would not have the capacity to understand her, they would view her as a threat, fear her and she would become the enemy. She was taught all the negatives of the world, but through Leo, Bella saw differently. She learned that there wasn’t only a negative aspect of the world. There were people out there with pure hearts and good energy. Leo introduced Bella to this side of the world, and Bella wanted more of it.

“No Bella, you know why I forbid you to see Leo. As soon as he finds out who you really are, he will run for the hills and tell the whole world. We will become wanted, and people will want to study us. Is that what you want? Us to become subjects to a science experiment? I know I have never been able to give you a normal life, but please understand that is the best I have been able to give you. Let me protect you. Don’t fight me.” Bella and her mother would regularly have disagreements and arguments. It came to a point where Bella would not be allowed out of her room. She would be locked away when Leo arrived home. Her mother had even threatened to throw Leo out, if they wouldn’t behave. Bella eventually became a prisoner in their own home. Despite her mother physically knowing Leo’s feelings, she still viewed him as a threat.

Over time, Bella became rebellious and resistant to her mother. Natural instincts took over her and she would look for any way to be with Leo. This eventually led to Leo losing his place in the house. Her mother evicted him and a banned him from ever returning. A note slipped under Bella’s door. It was from Leo. “Sometimes you must take that chance, and risk it all. You may lose in the end, but it’s better to know, rather than spending the rest of your life wondering what if… Take the chance Bella. I know you will, and I’ll be there.”

Eventually Bella decided to leave. She knew what she wanted. She knew she was risking everything and putting her life in danger. “Mother, I will risk everything and the rest of my life, just to live one normal day with Leo,” She wrote. She left the note on her bed and left the house through her bedroom window. She slowly climbed down the rope ladder, knowing where she had to go. Her and Leo always spoke about going to the coast together, which was not far from where Bella lived. Bella had always wanted to look out at sea and watch the sunset with her own eyes. She had always read about it, seen it in pictures however she longed to see it in person. She knew that is where she needed to go to see Leo.

Leo was standing on the sand, looking out to sea, in deep thought. He was there every day, at sunset, hoping that one day Bella would come, like she described to him in their conversations. He was looking at the ocean, when Bella came and joined him. She stood next to him, her eyes, also fixed on the ocean. He looked at her in awe, while she stared out to the ocean.

It was the first time that Leo heard her speak, but not through her lips, but through her eyes. She turned to look at him with her wide grey eyes, which told a story of their own. Leo stammered in confusion, but before he could get a word out, Bella started to explain. “I’m an empath. I have the ability to feel whatever you feel. The good and the bad. My eyes change colour when I feel what another person is feeling. That is why I was never allowed to see you. I have never left my house, until today because I was taught that the world outside is evil, that they would not understand me or my ability. But then you came, I learned the world through you. You taught me that every heart in this world is not cruel, but there are pure hearts like yours. That feeling was the greatest and most over whelming I have ever felt, and it became addictive. I’ve lived the world through you for the past two years, and all I’ve wanted since then is to live one day for real, even if it is my last, with you.”

“Bella, your eyes, they’re not grey anymore, they’re brown.” Bella ran to the ocean, to see her reflection in the water. What Bella’s mother never told her was that the curse can be lifted, if someone with a pure heart loves and accepts Bella for what she really is. Leo’s pure and genuine love for Bella, freed her from the curse. Tears flowed down Bella’s face, and her eyes told Leo her whole story.

“The life you wish to live now, Bella, is the life you will lead, and I will be with you, wherever you will go.”

Jaspreet Daheley

Jaspreet Daheley

Jaspreet Daheley was born and raised in Essex. Her family and culture are the closest aspects to her, lending themselves to the inspiration for her creative writing work. She has a great passion for henna painting and applies henna at weddings and other festivals. Her literary influences include Alice Walker and Jane Austen. She hopes to bring a sense of curiosity to her latest creative writing piece, ‘Blessing in Disguise’ to the younger generations to come.