The shopping mall in Sorell is T-shaped. In order to get to the supermarket, you have to stroll along the vertical bar of the T, then turn to the right and head along to where it is wedged it at the end. In all actuality, shopping at the supermarket isn’t as convenient as the managers would like the customers to believe. This is because – in order to actually get to the supermarket – you have to travel past a bakery, butchers and a shoe shop, just to name a few. However, collaborating everything together in one place is a benefit for a lot of people. Therefore, the supermarket is very popular. I arrived at the staffroom at the back of the store, up the stairs behind the door in the corner, just before 9am. Jabbing at the buttons on the keypad, I signed in for the morning, taking my slip with me over to the other side of the room, where I placed it in the correct drawer.
“Oh Jumilah,” one of my co-workers, Patrick, muttered in surprise from across the room. “Why on Earth are you here?”
I glanced across over at him.
“I didn’t think that you were back until the fifth,” Patrick commented.
I took a step over to the table in the centre of the room and took up a chair opposite Patrick. I contemplated how much of the story that I should tell him.
“Earth to Jumilah,” Patrick murmured. “Are you alright?”
I looked back up at him and instinctively started blurting.
“My grandfather died,” I confessed, withdrawing my hands across the table, ready to stand up again.
“Oh,” Patrick replied softly. “That’s--.”
He stubbed his spoon in the yoghurt he was eating.
“That’s why I’m back to work early.”
“How’s your--?” Patrick trailed off.
“My grandmother’s to be expected,” I answered, presuming his question.
I nodded my head, knowing I needed to get to work.
“And your Mum and Dad?” Patrick probed.
“Yeah, they’ve been better,” I supplied. “He was Mum’s father--.”
“So the one you were over there with, that’s rough. I’m so sorry.”
I hadn’t realised just how much Patrick had picked up on.
“Yeah,” I replied with a sigh.
I could have told him. Maybe I should have told him. We’re good friends at work and I do trust him, but I still didn’t want him to know. I glanced towards the clock, ticking ominously.
“We probably should get out there,” I remarked.
“Right,” Patrick agreed.
We made our way towards the door which led out to the floor of the supermarket. Patrick opened it, holding it ajar for me.
“I’m sorry about your grandfather. It’s good to have you back, though.”
Jumilah Fioray is a recent high school graduate from lutruwita, Tasmania. Her parents, Catherine and Adriano Fioray, met at the University of Melbourne in the 1990s and returned to Hobart after finishing their degrees, where they raised their daughter and worked in agriculture. Jumilah's passion for conservation reflects her grandparents' work running a sanctuary in Sumatra.
Abbey Sim is the founder of Huldah Media. She is a creative writing, law and theology student who lives on the lands of the Dharug people in Sydney, Australia. Abbey has long had a passion for the weird and the wonderful of stories, sport and zoo animals. 'From the Wild' is her first anthology.