“For the last time, ma’am, what is your name and address?”
“What does it matter? I just need checked out. Isn’t this an emergency clinic?”
“We still need your name and address for our records.”
“Lots of displaced people about.”
“Yes, ma’am, I understand.” For a moment, the doctor’s tone almost sounded compassionate. “There are lots of people who don’t have permanent addresses right now. That’s okay. We need something for our records, though. What if you have family or friends who are looking for you?”
“My condolences, truly. But you never know who might decide to look you up!” His eyes wandered lower. “Long lost friends, perhaps?”
She reflexively pulled her jacket together, even though it did not zip up. It was still her armour. The doctor took notice and returned his gaze to his monitor.
“My name is Sarah Donald. Here’s my ID.”
“Is this still your address?”
“Technically, yeah, I suppose. Missed a few mortgage payments now though! Bank is gone too, so not sure where we’re at. But the address is a pile of rubble. No one lives there now.”
“Alrighty then, no fixed address it is. I’ll put this as your last address, though. And your age is…”
“Thirty-six in July.”
He handed her back her identification.
“So what brings you to the clinic? I don’t see any broken bones or blood. You look a little pale, but you seem healthy enough.”
That she had long suffered from chronic illness was something she decided to keep to herself.
“I need checked out. I want to see if the test I did was right.”
The doctor nodded, slightly sceptical.
“We don’t have the resources to do lots here. You’re not bleeding at all, are you?”
She shook her head.
“Any other worries? How’s your health been?”
“Good, I suppose. Considering I have no fixed address.”
“Well, I’d say keep hydrated, try to stay well-fed with a balanced diet, and get a roof over your head so you have a safe place to sleep.”
“Sure.” A car roof would have to suffice.
“We can do a visual scan, if you like. We have an ultrasound machine here – usually, we use it for other things, but every so often, it’s for a happier occasion.”
“It’s part of the emergency service, Ms. Donald. No charge.”
The clinic’s washrooms were full, so Sarah staggered out to the nearby pharmacy. Clutching her envelope tightly in front of her, she hurried inside and said a prayer of thanks that the toilet was available.
“I’ll buy a drink after!” she called out to the cashier, who simply shrugged. No telling who was armed these days. She hoped that no one had threatened to kill anyone over access to a toilet.
Sarah burst into a mix of sobbing and laughter. What was she going to do? How was she going to manage this? What a silly trick!
The ultrasound had not only shown that she was indeed pregnant, of which she had little doubt, but that there were two healthy babies squirming around inside her. One was a boy, while the other one had kept its private parts hidden. She had begun to hope that it was a girl, since she had always wanted one of each. Not that she had thought that she would have any.
“I’m glad you two are okay,” she whispered, adjusting her sweater over them protectively. That she was carrying twins made her size more reasonable, since she knew exactly when they had been conceived. “I’m going to try to keep you safe. Just stay in here as long as you can, please!”
When she got back to her car, she spread out her map on the passenger seat. Where was she going to go? She needed to find somewhere safe.
No fixed address, no fixed address…
Tears ran down her face.
“I had a home!” she cried. “I had a home and I had a country and I had a job and I had a family and you two should have had all that too!”
Even though they owed their existence to the war, she admitted to herself. Or else she would have never found herself sheltering young soldiers who had fallen behind enemy lines!
“Your dads got caught by the invasion,” she continued, happy to have an idea of who she was talking to. “I wonder which one it is? Or maybe one of each?”
She was not sure what had happened to them once they had been captured. Had they been killed immediately? Ransomed? Sent out east? Kept as prisoners of war indefinitely?
“We’re going north,” she decided. “I hear there’s a resistance base there. It might take us awhile, though. I’m going to take care of you two first.”
They were hungry. Just like their dads.
“All right, Vimy and Juno, we have a plan. First, let’s get food.”
No fixed address…well, what was wrong with that? They could not be found. The invaders could not claim them. They were going to be free – even if that only meant they would be free to die.
She stared at the tattoo of the red maple leaf on her wrist.
“Invaders be damned!”