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I haven’t written in this diary for a long time. Things have gotten very busy, but I know I need to keep documenting my experiences here so others will know what happened and what it was like to live through the Apocalypse. I can’t allow myself to abandon this diary completely. The girls are quietly reading the chapters I’ve assigned them on their beds, so I have a rare moment of peace, but let me rewind a few years:

Well, as we were afraid of, my boss ordered me back to work, even though I tried to explain to him that my children were still only three years old and couldn’t look after themselves. He didn’t care. Normally, I would have rushed back to work gladly. I love working. It brings me such satisfaction and purpose, but I had still been keeping up with my job at home all that time. I called every day to make sure everything was okay; I worked from home on the computer every night and kept in contact with all my comrades. I didn’t really need to go back to work, but my children needed me to look after them.

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It broke my heart to tell Sherman, because we both knew that meant he’d have to quit his job. He’s so passionate about helping others and making a difference and I feel like I single-handedly shattered his dreams. He was a good sport about it; smiled and assured me our daughters were worth it and that he’d like to spend more time with them, but later that night when I passed by the little bathroom, I think I heard him crying. He worked so hard and so long to get all those promotions. It’s not fair.

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Well, I went back to work rather reluctantly. As great as it feels to be back on the job, knowing that someone I love had to sacrifice his dreams so I could get ahead really dampens the feeling. I worked my heart out anyway. Sherman sacrificed his dream for me to reach the top of the Military and make the streets of Riverview safe to travel on again and I’m not going to make his sacrifice worth nothing in the end.

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While Sherman threw himself into raising Kala and Kaiya, I threw myself into my work, at times ignoring my children, which I’m ashamed to admit. I console myself with the thought that I’m doing this for them, so they can be safe and happy and do things normal children should be able to do, like play at the park and go out to collect bugs and rocks.

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I was so proud the day I came home as a Top Gun. I’m almost there. Success is so close, I can taste it and not many things bring tears to my eyes, but this does. It means soon my children will be safe walking outside and I won’t have to live in fear of Kala or Kaiya being murdered when they slip outside to get a breath of fresh air once in a while (well, as fresh as is available here anymore…)

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Sherman is so happy for me, but I know he’s still devastated over having to leave his own calling. I know he loves Kala and Kaiya, but sometimes I worry that he might be a bit resentful towards them for demanding his attention and tearing him away from his dreams.

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Sherman and I talked once about having another child so maybe she or he could grow up and restore sanitation to Riverview. We’ve decided that Kaiya should go into Politics to try and lift these horribly unfair building restrictions and Kala should go into the Culinary career to find a way to give the town healthy, wholesome food again. Both of them are wonderful. When I told them this, they just accepted it as part of their duty to rebuild this town. No arguments, no questions. They are so much more mature than regular eight year olds. It must be from growing up in these kinds of conditions. After our talk, Sherman and I decided that we just can’t right now. We don’t have the space and bringing more children into this kind of situation is wrong. It’s been easier to avoid having sex since having the twins. We can’t exactly have sex in front of them. I’m pretty sure that’s a form of abuse. Having the twins stopping us from having sex is good for us in a way, because that means we can’t have another baby, but obviously, it’s emotionally frustrating. That would have been another wonderful benefit of Sherman getting to the top of the Medical profession; birth control.

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Eventually, Kala and Kaiya did what all young children do; they grew up. I know most mothers will tell you about how sad they are to see their little toddlers grow up. I’m not. Not a bit. I love my girls, but I did not love the years of poopy diapers, temper tantrums, late-night feedings, and lack of sleep. I am so glad those days are finally over. Now my little babies are learning their multiplication and spelling. Of course, there’s no school here anymore so Sherman and I are homeschooling them. Sherman, mostly, since I’m working a lot of the time. He spends his evenings scribbling out readings and math problems to give to them the next day. They have a regular school schedule, just as if they were going to a government-run school. They get up at 8:00am, eat breakfast and get dressed, sit at the table and desk at 9:00am and listen to Sherman teach them Language Arts, Social Studies and History in the morning, then Math, Science and French in the afternoons. When I come home, I teach them Ojibwe, the language of my ancestors that my parents taught me. I don’t want them to forget their native background. My parents would be so ashamed of me if I didn’t teach them about their heritage.

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Kaiya Burnum

Kala Burnum

Kala Burnum

They’re smart kids. They learn quickly, but they get distracted sometimes like any other child their age. Sometimes Sherman and I need to scold them for playing with toys when they should be doing their homework.

Just a second, Kala has a question about her Math assignment…

She was stuck on multiplying with the number nine. I hope I explained it well enough. Math isn’t my strong suit. I’m better with English and the Arts. Maybe one of them will be interested in Women’s Studies; then I’ll know all about that and teach that to them. No? Well, maybe not, but it’d be nice to do something with my major. I was going to work at a battered women’s shelter after college but that was before all of this. If I had known how useless my major would have turned out to be, maybe I would have stayed home and been able to save my family…

Enough of that. I know it’s been almost twenty years since I lost them, but I still think about them every day. I might have been an aunt by now if Caleb hadn’t been killed before his eleventh birthday. My parents might have gotten to see their grandchildren.

“Mommy, why are you crying? Don’t cry,” Kaiya just told me, hugging me. She’s so sweet.

“I’m fine, Honey. Go finish your homework with your sister,” I tell her with a kiss on her forehead.

I think I’ll end this here. I don’t want to worry my children any more than I already have. The poor things worry about their parents far too much. Parents should worry about their kids, not the other way around.

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