A year later, Trisha had taken her final exams, graduated from secondary school and was looking forward to getting into the university and pursuing her ambition of becoming an artist. Only she was about to find out her mother had other plans.

Her hope that her mother wouldn’t interfere with her plans just as she hadn’t when Brenda made it clear she wanted to go into the bakery business was shattered that evening while they were both in the living room.

“So, my dear, what are you thinking of studying?” Felicia asked, not taking her eyes off the laptop she was working.

“I told you mum, I want to be an artist. So, it’s going to be Fine Art.” Trisha said casually and then blinked in surprise when her mother pushed aside her laptop and stood up to stare angrily at her.

“You have got to be joking, Trisha. You said that nonsense last year and I chose to ignore you but don’t think I am going to stand by while you ruin your future like your sister is hell-bent on doing.” Felicia shouted, completely losing her patience with her children. They were thwarting all her efforts to secure their future. “You are all bent on becoming thorns in my flesh and I won’t permit it. Well, for your information, little girl, I am sending you to England to study Political Science and don’t even think of trying anything funny like your sister did because I won’t take it likely with you.”

“I’m not going to try anything funny and I’m not going to England either. I’m going to be an artist and that is final.” Trisha stood up and faced her stubbornly. “I won’t let you destroy my future just because of your selfish motives. And I don’t see any reason why I should please you because you never loved me for who I am and you never will, Mum.”

“That’s enough, Trisha. You are shouting again at Mum and that is not right.” Brenda ordered as she came into the living room.

“I don’t mean to be disrespectful, Brenda. But you have always wanted to know why I suddenly became withdrawn, haven’t you?” Trisha faced her sister. “Well, the reason is because I heard Mum complaining to Dad one day that it is so difficult for her to love me like she loves you and Bryan because I am not like you both at all. Then she said how can I be like you two when I am adopted. So, you see, Brenda, Mum doesn’t really love me and that is because I am an adopted child.”

“What nonsense are you talking about, Trisha?” Brenda demanded, shocked.

“It is not nonsense, Brenda. It’s the truth and you can ask Mum.” Trisha turned and walked out.

“Mum?” Brenda looked at her mother.

Felicia only shook her head and went after Trisha.

In her bedroom, Trisha brought out an empty suitcase and started packing some of her things into it. She was packing another suitcase when her mother walked inside.

“What are you doing?” Felicia demanded.

“Leaving.” Trisha answered and dragged the bags past her mother and out of the room.

“Leaving to where, Trisha? Are you crazy?” Felicia followed her. “Where do you know you are going to?”

“I don’t know yet. But since I don’t belong here, I am leaving.”

“Trisha, go back inside at once with those suitcases.” Brenda instructed. “What do you think you are doing? You can’t leave home.”

“I can’t stay here, Brenda. This is not really my home and I don’t belong here.” Tears filled Trisha’s eyes as she looked at the only sister she had. “I will never forget you, Brenda. You will always be in my heart.”

“Trisha, we can sort this out. You are acting without thought.” Brenda took hold of one of the suitcases.

But Trisha dragged it out of her hand. “No, Brenda, there’s nothing to sort out. I’ve been bearing this for a long time and I can’t bear it anymore. I hope I see you again, and Bryan too.”

“If you walk past that door, then you are as good as dead to me.” Felicia threatened furiously.

“Then so be it, Mum.” Trisha said and walked out.

“Trisha!” Brenda tried to run after her. But Felicia stopped her.

“Get back inside here, Brenda!” She ordered. “If that little brat thinks she can control everyone in this house with her tantrums, then she doesn’t know yet what she is up against.”

Brenda stared at her with tears in her eyes. “Is it true then, Mum? Is Trisha adopted?”

“Not now, Brenda.” Felicia snapped and marched up the stairs.

“Oh God!” Brenda muttered, shocked and confused.

Her little sister was gone and her mother wasn’t interested in doing anything about it. Maybe it was time she too left the house. Bryan was in the US and hardly came home these days and now, Trisha has left. Yes, it was time she too left to find her own life.