After that night, there was never a question of whether I would go or stay. It was as if we were living in the future, and I was already gone.

This quotation occurs in Chapter 16, after Tara disobeys her father and takes Shawn to the hospital to be treated for injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident. This action marks the beginning of a pattern wherein she acts independently of her family, and makes choices which contradict the values she grew up with. At this point, Tara has not yet gone away to school, and is still hesitating about whether pursuing an education is the right decision for her. In defying her father, she starts to develop the confidence to take other independent actions. This quote also shows the role of the retrospective narration in the memoir. At the time when Tara made the choice to take Shawn to the hospital, she could not see the full significance and impact of this choice. Looking back, she can see patterns and connections between the different actions that eventually led her away from her family.