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By Laura Moncur in The Disappearance of Glen and Bessie Hyde

When I read that Cameron had died in the newspaper, I felt a wave of relief. My parents had passed the previous year, never knowing that I was alive. I had send them a letter from the Grand Canyon telling them how much I loved them, but I backdated it to before my “disappearance” so that they would have solace, but I would be safe from a murder conviction.

At that point, Rosie and I could have come out of hiding. I could have claimed my true name, but doing so would have renounced my newfound daughter. Her nightmares had finally subsided and even her memories of our “vacation” to the Grand Canyon had been softened by years and false reminiscences. To her, I was Georgie White and I so wanted to be her mother that I never considered returning to my life as Bessie Hyde.

And then I found myself utterly alone.

Walk to the library by LauraMoncur from FlickrWe were walking to the lending library. Rosie had grown to become a fine young woman and I was proud of her. My Wondrous Water Breathers had earned us enough independence that I would be able to pay her tuition at the finest women’s colleges in the United States (not quite enough for Europe, however). As we walked together, laughing about the silly name the Frenchman had given my invention, Rosie was struck by a car.

One second, she was at my side. The next, I found myself standing alone at the side of the street. She had been thrown twenty yards in front of me, splayed out awkwardly and unconscious. The car never even slowed down. It was as if they couldn’t see her or our life together or how very important she was. I ran to her, clinging to the hope that she was still alive.

When I came near, I saw her ribs sticking out of her skin and clothing. She was gasping for breath. I flew to the ground at her side, but the pain had taken away her senses. “Mommy,” she cried. “Mommy…” I held in my grief, but it was spilling out of my eyes, blurring my vision. “Remember the time you took me to see Daddy?” she asked me.

I burst into tears. The room, smelling of tomatoes and zucchini filled my mind and her innocent laughter when I told her so long ago that I didn’t remember. “Of course I do, dearest. Daddy was going to take you to the fair.” She looked at me with tear-filled eyes and grimaced with the pain. “Daddy asked you to go, but you didn’t want to go.” I could see her tiny hands cutting the vegetables while I grilled the onions with the last bit of butter.

“But I DID go and Daddy won you a teddy bear.” She smiled through the pain and I looked down at my clothing and hands. They were covered in blood and I remembered when I had held another knife in my hands, but I wasn’t cutting vegetables. “Daddy won me a teddy bear.” Rosie breathed out a painful gasp and died with the memory of an absent father on her lips.

I buried her in a beautiful grave that cost less than two months of tuition at Vassar College. I remember writing the check and signing with Georgie’s name but paying with my money. I tried to convince myself that I was signing for tuition and that I was losing Rosie to college and a life of intellect, but the sum was so paltry that I couldn’t make the deception complete.

I found myself so completely lost and abandoned that I returned to what passed for my husband’s grave: the Grand Canyon.