As the only child of a single parent, and with little knowledge of her father or her paternal relatives, Emily struggles with identity issues throughout her childhood. Her mother’s past and family history have always been shrouded in secrecy. Moving from Scotland to Vancouver, Emily hoped to start a new life and reinvent herself, but she unintentionally becomes estranged from her mother, Melita, during the process.
The tension between Melita and her daughter that has built throughout the course of Emily’s life finally comes to the surface. Slowly, the truth about Melita’s harsh childhood growing up in Malta unravels, revealing the inevitable impact it had on Emily’s upbringing. Will the dysfunctional familial patterns remain entrenched forever? Or can Melita and Emily find a way to reconcile with the past?
When Melita announced she wasn’t coming, Emily broke down in tears and begged her mother not to embarrass her in this way. ‘Mum! You are my only relative; you can’t do this to me. I will be so upset if you don’t come and be happy for me on my special night.’
Melita’s lip curled spitefully. ‘You should have thought of that when you sided with the precious Wilson family! Incidentally, you will soon become one of them and I will be left on the outside; have you thought about that?’
Overcome with hurt and anger, Emily could barely form any words. ‘Mum, if you let me down like this, I’m not sure it will be something we can recover from. I beg you to think this through and make a choice that is for the greater good of us all.’
Melita considered appeasing her daughter for all of a few seconds, but somehow she simply couldn’t bring herself to be nice. It looked like Emily was about to live the happy life she should have had. It simply wasn’t fair. Instead she looked at her daughter with a self-satisfied smirk and said, ‘I won’t be coming, Emily.’
Emily gasped, her expression a mixture of hurt and horror, as she watched her mother casually walk out of the lounge room as though what she’d said was no big deal at all. Emily felt like she had been kicked in the guts. How could she possibly be at her own engagement party with zero family representation and how could Melita not care how this affected her? A transition was taking place. The invisible umbilical cord that usually ties mothers and daughters together over the course of their life was beginning to sever. In fact, it was practically hanging by a thread. Emily had always made excuses for her mum, sticking up for her and using her sad start in life to justify her awful behaviour. But there was only so much she could take and she had just about reached her limit.