Amidst the fallen petals and faded leaves, Ella Everdeen stood beside the bench, thinking deeply. The soft light of the setting sun fell on her face and made it glow. She was untouched by the cool breeze, that blew a strand of hair across her face. She was too old now to remember all of it so clearly, yet she could picture the pain she felt and it was visible on her face.
Her father had a transfer and so her family was moving from Long beach to Rochester. The plan was to spend some time with Aunt Lucy, while her father would join his work and make arrangements in Rochester for schooling as well as a house in a good locality. Aunt Lucy stayed alone in Cortland. She was a very nice lady with a pure heart and the eagerness to help others. Her husband had died at a very young age and from then she had been managing her life by working as a Head of Department in a College.
Ella could never endure staying away from her parents and her one and only sister, even if it was for a few hours, however, after many efforts her mom had convinced her to bid goodbye to her father. It was early in the morning, around 4:00 AM, that her father had decided to leave for Rochester. With watery eyes, Ella came near her dad and asked him to bend a little so that she could whisper something in his ear. Mr. Everdeen stooped down and asked his little angel why was she crying. With choked voice, Ella asked her that dad how many days would he stay away from her. Mr. Everdeen hugged her tightly and remained silent. Ella understood that it was not a matter of few hours but days or may be months. She planted a soft kiss on his cheek, looked into his eyes and said,"Bye Dad". Mr. Everdeen again tried to hug her but she resisted saying," Wait daddy, this one was for today, I'll kiss you for all the days, you won't be seeing me". And she kissed her dad innocently. Mr. Everdeen was speechless. He knew the longer he stayed, the harder it would become to control Ella. He said to Ella's mother to take care of children and herself and that he would be back soon. And finally, Mr. Everdeen left.
Later in the morning around 7:00 AM, Ella's mother was startled with the ring of the telephone. It was an unusual ring. She had a feeling that something bad was about to happen. With a shivering hand she picked up the receiver.
" Is this Mrs. Everdeen?"
"Yes, who is this?"
"Hello mam, I am calling from Syracuse. Your husband has met with an accident. There is a minor injury and we have admitted him in the local hospital."
Mrs. Everdeen was in state of complete shock. The worst of her nightmares had come true and she did not have enough strength to fight that situation. Somehow she completed the conversation on telephone, noted down the address of the hospital and finally broke down. By that time aunt Lucy was also awake. She came to know about Mr. Everdeen and was also in tears.
The next moment Mrs. Everdeen was ready to leave for Syracuse. She woke up Ella and told her that daddy had met with a minor accident and that she was going to bring him back home. She had decided to leave Ella and her sister with one of Aunt Lucy's friend. Ella was speechless on hearing all that. All her emotions had suddenly left her alone. She told her mother to go and get her daddy back home safe as soon as she can.
It was later in the evening that Ella got a call from her aunt. She told Ella to come home with her sister. Ella tried to ask if her daddy was alright, but her aunt did not answer any of her questions. Ella had mixed feelings, her head told her that something bad had happened, but her heart was not ready to accept that fact.
Ella and her little sister reached home and found their house filled with people. All faces were known. For once Ella thought that may be that was a gathering called by her aunt because her father was safe. But the very next moment, when Ella entered the dining room, all her hopes were shattered, as she saw her mother crying over the death of Mr. Everdeen. It was end of the world for Ella. She ran and hugged her mother tightly. She cried. She fainted.