When I finished crying I felt better. My mind was clear and somehow I had made a decision. I would play the dutiful daughter for as long as it suited me. I would continue to study and get good grades, because that suited me. It gave me something to focus on until I was legally an adult, my own person. My family assume I will study medicine and they can think that if they like.
Art will be my future. Damn the money, I would rather starve and be fulfilled. I will never again share my art or my dreams with anyone, to have them ripped apart.
I managed to keep out of my parents' way most of the time, and as long as I studied and kept up with my chores they didn't bother me much.
I immersed myself in art every hour I could and my paintings especially, brought me so much joy. The more I painted the more I realised I didn't care about how they turned out I just loved playing with paint on canvas. I would paint anything, real or imagined, sometimes painting the same subject many times, and each time I would learn something new.
One day I got out all my completed paintings and displayed them around my room. I looked at them for a long time and became more and more puzzled. Something was wrong. At first I wasn't sure, but eventually I had to believe what my eyes were telling me.
In each painting was something I hadn't put there, and it was the same each time. When I looked straight at a painting I couldn't be sure, but when I looked slightly to one side it came into focus.
It was a face, the same face in every painting.