A woman decides to visit the orphanage where she was raised to make amends for the past, but she is taken aback when she meets a little girl there who is an exact replica of her!
When Thelma Harris was just one, her father, Thomas, abandoned her and her mother, Erin. A cheerful, vibrant woman, Erin was reduced to a desolate soul when Thomas left her, but she fought against the odds for little Thelma, who had a bright future ahead of her.
Professionally, Erin worked as a stewardess on international flights and was frequently away from home, so she couldn't care for Thelma all the time. As such, she placed her in an orphanage run by the town's church near her home in Atlanta, Georgia.
Thelma met a little girl at the orphanage who looked like her | Photo: Shutterstock
Erin herself was an orphan, raised in an orphanage run by a Catholic church in Atlanta, and had attended a community school. Later, she took up a flight attendant course after graduating from university and became a stewardess.
She brought Thelma home only during her yearly vacations, and they spent time together. Other children in the orphanage were envious of this because even though Thelma spent most of her time in the orphanage, she at least had a mother who cared for her and loved her.
But apart from Thelma, nobody knew how lonely she felt when her mother saw her only twice a year. She was mostly alone because none of the kids wanted to befriend her out of jealousy, and out of boredom, she developed an interest in painting.
When Thelma turned 16, painting also became the reason why she decided to take up the Arts in college. But Erin wasn't in favor of it — she wanted her to take medicine, which led to a huge fight between the mother and daughter, resulting in their estranged relationship.
Thelma loved painting from a young age | Photo: Pexels
"I like to paint, Mom, and you can't make me take medicine!" Thelma had stated adamantly.
"No way, Thelma," Erin had said. "Not the Arts. That stream has no future, and you'll have to struggle for most of your life! I don't want that happening."
"But, mom," Thelma insisted. "I love painting and want to make a career out of it. I don't want to take up medicine just because you think doctors make a lot of money, and it's a stable career!"
"Honey, you're still young, and you're making a hasty decision," Thelma had warned her. "Trusting your father was a mistake I made when I was younger, and look how we suffered. You live in an orphanage, and I spent my entire life working nonstop, day and night!"
"Of course, mom. You know what, in this entire scenario, only I suffered. Despite having a mother, I had to live as an orphan. Why? Because you dated a scumbag! And now you're making yet another decision that affects both of us!" Thelma stated. "If you're really worried about money, I can work part-time and pay my bills."
Thelma left her mother's house after an argument with her | Photo: Pexels
With that, Thelma packed her bags and left her mother's house that evening, resolved to prove her wrong, and moved from Atlanta to Savannah.
She took a year off from school that year to prepare for scholarship exams, and she was able to enroll in a Fine Arts program at a university by the start of the following year.
She also continued volunteering, as she had done in the orphanage where she had spent over 16 years of her life, and on weekends, she visited an orphanage near her new home bringing coloring books and toys and occasionally holding painting sessions for the children there.
16 years passed in this manner. Thelma had never spoken to Erin again after that fateful day, but she began to feel the need to see her mother again over time.
In the initial days after she moved to Savannah, she had contacted her several times via phone calls and even dropped her mails, but Thelma was furious at her, so she changed her contact number and ignored all of her emails.
Thelma cut off all her ties with Erin | Photo: Pexels
However, the 32-year-old Thelma, who was the CEO of a huge design firm, was more mature than the 16-year-old Thelma and realized she could have tried talking to her mother more patiently and convincing her rather than severing her ties with her over an argument.
So, after all these years, she decided to return to the orphanage and reunite with her mother. Of course, it wasn't an easy decision to make emotionally, given how much time had passed and how the last conversion she'd had with her mother had turned out.
"But, time heals everything, Thelma, and you'll be fine," she had reasoned when she hired a cab to take her to Atlanta the following evening.
Unfortunately, though, the taxi broke down halfway through the journey. It was getting dark, and she'd already had three cabs cancel on her. "Maybe I am not destined to sort things out with, mom," she thought, almost giving up after the fourth cab canceled on her. But just then, a car pulled over next to her, and a kind man offered her help. "Hey, can I help you?" he asked her in a friendly tone as he rolled down his car window.
"Yes, that'd be really kind of you," Thelma replied, relieved to receive help. "Could you please give me a ride to Atlanta? My car broke down, and I've already been turned down by four cabs!"
A kind stranger offered Thelma a ride | Photo: Pexels
"Yeah, sure," The man, Curtis, replied. "Even I'm headed to Atlanta! Come on in!"
"Oh my goodness, thank you so much!" Thelma responded, quickly settling on the front seat. Thelma introduced herself and explained that she was on her way to the orphanage where she was raised. Curtis introduced himself as well, and to pass the time, he began telling her about his life.
"I never felt like dating again after I got divorced," he said. "We didn't have any children, so I'm just a single man enjoying my life the way it comes."
Thelma blushed. "Are you from Atlanta?"
"Yeah. I'm on my way home after seeing some of my family."
"That's nice," Thelma replied quietly. "You're lucky to have a family."
Curtis was a young cheerful man | Photo: Pexels
"Yes, it feels nice to have a family until they don't budge you once a month for a boring gathering!" Curtis stated. "There are times when I prefer to be alone. By the way, we're reaching Atlanta shortly. Where should I drop you?"
"Could you just drop me off near the Sunrise Valley Home bus stop? The orphanage is only a two-minute walk from there."
It was around 8:30 p.m. when Thelma arrived at the orphanage. After dinner, the children were already in their rooms, and the orphanage director had left. That night, Sister Julie was on duty, and she immediately recognized the young Thelma who had once stayed there.
"Oh dear," Sister Julie gasped. "Is that really you, Thelma?"
Sister Julie recognized Thelma | Photo: Unsplash
"Sister!" Thelma cried cheerfully, hugging her. "How have you been?"
"I'm doing fine, dear. But why did you leave so abruptly? Your mother was very concerned after you left her."
"I'm sorry, Sister. Mom and I had a huge fight about something, and I had to leave, but I'm back to make amends for what I did. I wanted to surprise mom, so I didn't contact her before. Is she in town?"
"Well," Sister Julie was about to say something when a young girl entered the room. "Can you help me find my doll, Sister Julie?" she inquired in a squeaky voice, rubbing her eyes.
A shock ran through Thelma when she looked closely at the girl. "She - She looks so much like me! How is that possible?"
Sister Julie noticed how Thelma's face had turned pale at the sight of the girl. She told the little girl, Cindy, to go to her room and sent Sister Nancy after her to assist her. She then turned around to face Thelma, her hand resting on Thelma's hands.
Thelma noticed a strange fear in Sister Julie's eyes at that point. "There's something you should be aware of, Thelma. It's about the little girl you just met," she began and told her the girl's story.
Cindy was Thelma's sister | Photo: Pexels
Sister Julie told Thelma that Cindy was her younger sister. Erin married a man named Kevin years after Thelma left her, and they welcomed a baby girl. They named her Cindy. However, Kevin didn't want to look after the baby and Erin and abandoned them for a young woman.
"She was really depressed when she was abandoned again," Sister Julie explained. "But who can defy God's will? That poor woman endured a great deal of pain and suffering. And, sadly, she died in a plane crash. Cindy is now six years old. She used to stay with us when Erin went to work, but after she died, we officially took her in."
When Thelma learned her mother was no longer alive, her heart sank. She felt terrible for not contacting her even once, and tears streamed down her cheeks. "I - I should have contacted her. She was in a lot of pain, and I...I can't forgive myself, Sister."
"Don't cry, Thelma," Sister Julie said, hugging her. "What happened was what God had in mind for us. You should be grateful that you are here, and you still have the opportunity to make amends by looking after your sister."
"I'll do it, Sister. I'm not going to make the same mistake I did before," Thelma promised. And the following day, she filed for Cindy's guardianship.
Thelma became a guardian to Cindy | Photo: Pexels
When it was finalized a month later, she brought little Cindy home. The little girl was overjoyed to learn she had an older sister.
Since then, 9 years had passed. Cindy is 15 years old now and will soon graduate from high school. Recently, Thelma told her what happened between her and Erin, which saddened Cindy a little, but it also motivated her to take up medicine and fulfill her late mother's wish.
Thelma, on the other hand, has expanded her business to more US states, and she and Curtis got hitched last year. They'd frequently been meeting since Thelma relocated to Atlanta from Savannah for Cindy. Eventually, their meetings turned into love, and they later decided to marry.
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