"So they wouldn't find you?"
"Right," Jamie said.
"But if they saw you, they would know you."
"That's why you live in another country."
Yvette bundled Jamie's clothes under her arm and said, "I live in another country, under another name."
Abby looked at her, astonished, and whispered, "Why?"
"I married Teddy, when he was a pilot in the war," Yvette said. "And I moved here from Canada and changed my name to his."
"That's not the same thing," Jamie said. "She didn't do anything wrong."
But it had felt wrong, leaving her father, who hadn't wanted her to go. "I did leave my family and my country," Yvette said. "And I never went back. I always thought I would."
Jamie shrugged in grudging acceptance. "Okay," he said to Abby, "so the song's about your grandma. It's about Canadians getting married and moving to California and serving the war effort and the holy Trinity."
"Oh, Jamie," Yvette said, and she laughed, embarrassed, and took the wash to the machine.
Yvette cooked Jamie's favorite meals -- enchiladas and chiles rellenos for dinner, poached eggs and toast soldiers for breakfast -- and they became Abby's favorites. When Clarissa or Henry called, Yvette was careful not to praise Jamie too much and make them feel they were being replaced, because she didn't see any benefit to their reclaiming their daughter yet. Abby was blissfully happy, and Jamie had a devotee and a life at the beach. If Henry was working, and Clarissa was off finding herself, then they were all where they wanted to be.
Copyright © 2006 by Maile Meloy
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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