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A dinner had been organised on the date of Rose’s 24th birthday at her house. Geoff and I had been invited. In the afternoon, after I had returned from a lecture and Geoff had come back from work, we got ourselves ready, to go in his car. I dressed myself in a knee-length lilac dress with a high neckline and short sleeves, made out of lace. I sort of resembled a jacaranda, some flowers still falling off the nearby trees despite the season. The sun had just gone down when Geoff and I arrived at the Milligan house. I was clutching the birthday present – a long navy blue box wrapped in spotty pink paper. Geoff, wearing a blue shirt which made his eyes sparkle, knocked on the front door. Hugh sauntered through the living room towards us, dressed in a navy blue suit.

“Nina?” he queried.

I grinned in confirmation.

“Thank you for having me, Mr Milligan,” I told him.

“Please, call me Hugh,” he corrected.

Hugh’s eyes flicked over to Geoff.

“Hugh, this is my boyfriend, Geoff,” I introduced him.

Hugh opened the front door and shook Geoff’s hand.

“Lovely to meet you, Geoff.” He smiled. “Come in.”

Geoff and I entered Rose’s house in Hurstville. I could smell the birthday dinner filtering through from the kitchen.

“That smells lovely,” I commented.

“Tammy, my wife, is an excellent cook and I help out where I can,” Hugh mentioned.

“I think that I take after Dad, no offence.”

Rose emerged down the hallway, her shoulder-length blonde hair straightened. She wore a black lace dress with a high neckline.

“We’re almost matching,” she observed, “but different colours.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, before we embraced. “Happy birthday, Rose!”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

We stepped apart and I handed Rose her birthday present.

“Thank you very much, Nina, and thank you for coming.”


Abbey Sim is a candidate for Honours in Communications at the University of Technology Sydney. She lives on the lands of the Dharug people in Sydney, Australia. Having started Huldah Media in 2021, Abbey desires to explore themes of hope, love and longing through her storytelling. She is the author of 'Shadow' and 'From the Wild'.

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