Six months after Simjay and Bernie were married, Simjay left the farm to go find his parents. He hadn’t spoken to his mother since he’d been sent to San Judas, and he hadn’t spoken to his father since he dropped out of Stanford. His father had long been angry at Simjay for squandering his tuition money. He was an immigrant who valued education and hard work above all else, so he hadn’t understood his son’s frivolous desire to see the world. As far as he was concerned, there was no need to travel when one had all the opportunity in the world sitting right at his feet.

When Simjay finally tracked his parents down, they were living on the outskirts of an aid camp in southern California. His father was no longer the strict, proud engineer he’d once been. He and Simjay’s mother had lost everything, and they had never known what had become of their son. They greeted Simjay with open arms and tears of happiness.

Simjay stayed with his parents for several weeks and then returned to New Mexico to be with Bernie. With Axel’s help, Simjay eventually finished his and Bernie’s house on the edge of Walt’s property. It was a small bungalow with the kitchen, living room, and bedroom all in one space.

A year and a half after they were married, Bernie became pregnant. She gave birth to a baby girl, whom she named after her mother. Lark was there to assist with the birth, and Simjay was the one to deliver his daughter.

Their tiny house felt much smaller with a crying baby than it had with just the two of them, but Bernie loved working the land and driving their produce to Albuquerque every weekend to help feed the thousands of people there who were struggling to survive. They added a loft, and two years later, Bernie gave birth to another girl.

As the country slowly stabilized, Walt and Bernie transitioned the farm back to a for-profit business, selling their produce in Albuquerque and other towns along the way. Bernie gave birth to her last child — a son — and a few months later, Walt passed away in his sleep.

Katrina and Thompson had moved away. Mitch had never been seen again. Katrina wanted her father’s legacy to live on, but she had no desire to move back to the country. Simjay and Bernie agreed to stay on and run the farm, with the promise that they would become part owners after five years. They moved into the main house with their three children, leaving their bungalow available for guests passing through. Lark and Soren were frequent visitors, and Lark and Bernie stayed friends for the rest of their lives.

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