The years had been good to her. She had finished school and opened her own art studio. Trisha was proud of how well she had done for herself. Everything was going well…

Except one thing, she thought as she set down her painting brush. She missed her family. She missed her Brenda and Bryan especially. She wondered if she should have contacted them over the years. That would have been the right thing to do, not so?

The studio phone rang and since her she had sent her receptionist on an errand, Trisha came out of her studio to answer the call.

“Hello, Felicity Art Studio, how may we help you?”

“Hello, my name is Ryan Dada. I would like to book an appointment to see the painter. I want do a painting of my mother.”

It was Ryan, Trisha realised and was shocked.

“Hello? Are you there?”

“Yes.” She forced herself to speak. “Yes, I am here. But the painter is not available today, I’m sorry.”

“How about tomorrow? Say around one-thirty p.m. Would that be all right?”

“Em, yes, that is fine.”

“Very good. I will see you tomorrow then.”

“Yes, sir, until tomorrow. Bye.”

Trisha dropped the phone and let out a sigh. Ryan, Laura’s brother just called her studio and he would be coming here tomorrow. What was he doing in their small town?

That wasn’t important, Trisha reminded herself. What was important was, would he recognise her?

That was likely, and she didn’t want anyone finding her yet until she was ready. So, what should she do? She couldn’t avoid him after giving him an appointment, could she?

Trisha went back to her studio and thought about what she would do.

***

The next day, she was prepared by the time Ryan was shown to her studio.

“Good afternoon.” Ryan greeted, and then commented. “This is a nice place. I see you do paintings of nature too.”

“Yes. Although, I specialise in portraits. Good afternoon, sir. I am Vivian Smith, the painter.” Trisha stretched out her hand to shake his.

“Nice to meet you, Vivian.”

“Please have a seat.” Trisha invited and sat down herself.

“Thank you.” Ryan sat down, but he was looking at her curiously. “I must say that you look a little familiar. Have we met before? Although, your name doesn’t sound familiar. But the face.” Ryan shook his head as if he was trying to recollect where he must have seen her.

“I don’t think we have met sir.” Trisha smiled politely. “If we have, I would remember as I’m good with faces.”

“Okay. Anyway, like I said yesterday over the phone, I want to paint my mother.” He put the envelope in his hand on the table. “That’s a picture of her. I want that picture recreated.”

Trisha took the envelope and brought out the picture of Marilyn Dada, Laura’s mother. “This is a very beautiful picture. Your mother is a beautiful woman, sir.” She smiled.

“Yes, she is. Her birthday is coming up in three weeks time and I want to surprise her with this painting.”

“I’m sure she will like the surprise.” Trisha wanted to ask about Laura, but she couldn’t. So, she asked instead. “Is your family having a party for her?”

“I don’t think she would like a party. My mother values privacy. Which is why my sister and I just want to do something small for her.”

“Your sister?”

“Yes, my younger sister.” Ryan nodded. “She is the one who suggested the painting. And since I was in town on business and someone mentioned the painter at Felicity Art Studio, I decided to do it here. So, I hope it will be ready before I leave?”

“When are you leaving?”

“Two weeks from today.”

“It will be ready.” Trisha assured him. “I will make this a priority since you are out of town.”

“Thank you. I truly appreciate that.” Ryan smiled. “Now, let’s discuss the matter of price.”

After he left, Trisha took of the wig on her head and walked into the studio’s restroom to clean of the extra makeup she had put on her face.

It’s been so long since she saw Laura. Since she saw anybody from her past life. Time had passed quickly and she had been so busy trying to establish herself to notice.

But she did now, and she missed her old friends and her family. She knew that Laura was now a beautician and owned a big beauty parlour. She saw pictures of her on Facebook and Instagram.

Maybe it was time to stop hiding. After all, no one can stop her dreams now.

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©Marie-Antoinette Otobo

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