“I’m trying to have a serious conversation with you!” My voice raised to an octave I wasn’t planning to, from sheer exasperation. I drew in a deep breath, hoping I didn’t wake the house.
“And I’m trying to avoid it,” he answered evenly in a low voice, intonation not even wavering in the slightest.
A long silence passed between us before I finally asked, resigned, “Why are you being like this?”
A brief pause. “Send her to France then, if you feel that you must.” His chin rested on the heel of his palm, pinky finger curled and tucked against the corner of his mouth. His classic look of pure frustration. “And you go with her.”
“I can’t go with her, or you’d be coming, too. She can go and stay with my aunt and uncle. We’ll stay here.” I saw hope flicker across his face for the briefest of seconds, then pass to resignation. The stark illumination of bright white pot lights overhead cast a sharp shadow across the covered half of my husband’s face.
“No, we can’t leave her.” I stood up and walked to the archway leaving the kitchen where we’d been talking. This conversation was over, as far as I was concerned. I’d have walked out the front door if it wasn’t so late.
“I’m going to go buy one ticket, so she can be in Givenchy-en-Gohelle by next week. We can’t protect her anymore.”
“Please, don’t.” I let a small snort of complete indignation escape from my lips and allowed him to see my slight eye roll. I made my way to the foot of the staircase leading to our bedroom, he and I knowing full well that I would be purchasing a plane ticket for our daughter; we couldn’t leave her in the middle of this blasted war if there was an option for her to escape. We’d send our girl to safety and we could do something here. Continue working, become medical workers of some sort… maybe spend I could even spend my afternoons knitting socks like the ladies did in the Second World War.
I could see him sitting at the kitchen table, head still hanging in his hand as he stared blankly at the mahogany grain of the wood in front of him. I climbed the stairs one by one, anxiously hoping that I was making the right decision to send my only child to France. America and Canada had been at each other’s throats for nearly a decade now, sending warnings more and more frequently with the threat of nuclear attack. When our west coast was blasted to nothing, I knew we had to move somewhere safe, somewhere not under the blanket of war.
Then the travel ban was put in place. Canadians over the age of eighteen were no longer permitted to leave the country. At just fifteen, we still had the chance to send out daughter to safety, to the quaint little town faraway from the chaos of North America, where my mother had grown up.
We would send her. We had to. It was her only chance of survival.