She had imagined this day a thousand times or more - God forgive her, she had even wished for it. And finally it was here, and it was nothing like she had imagined. She felt no freedom, no release, just...sadness.
She knew she had always been a burden to them; they had made no effort to conceal that fact. She had hated them for it, in her childish way - even now she hated them, but it was tinged with regret, regret that she could never ask them "Why? What did I do wrong?", regret that she could never make amends, regret that they would never, now, say to her, "We were wrong. We are sorry."
She disapproved of self-pity but she knew that she was doing it, and despite her best efforts she could not force the feelings down. She wanted them to be sorry, she wanted them to know what these years had meant to her, how she had suffered; but even after everything, she had still hoped that they might come back for her, that they might be reconciled. And now they never could.
Anger would come later, but today, as the others dragged her away to look at mountains, chattering together as they tugged her along, the hot sunshine brushing her unresponsive skin, she was conscious of just one thought,
"If only I could have felt they loved me!"