When I woke up, I slipped into the shower, to wash and feel refreshed before the others had woken up. I took my clothes in, so that I could get dressed in the ensuite.
“Sorry, sorry.” Sloane charged in as I was drying myself off.
I wrapped myself in the towel while she dropped to her knees at the toilet. As Sloane vomited, I tried to keep her hair back from her face.
“Sorry,” she apologised, as she rolled back from the toilet. “I thought that I would be fine now.”
Sloane took a deep breath and pulled herself together, then had a drink of water and left the bathroom, so that I could get dressed.
When I left the bathroom, I checked my phone. I would have called Mum and Dad, but it would soon be time to leave. I sent off a quick text just to check in. Nicking a complimentary teabag, I made myself a drink in my keepcup. I added milk and two sugars, then left it to cool down a bit. We started packing the car, ready to set off from Ross to reach Launceston, our final destination. Ricky had gone to the pub, to make sure everything was settled. Once he returned, we were about ready to go, but I felt worried about Tallulah. My chest was tight, knowing that I had urged her to come along.
“Are you OK?”
“Yeah, it’s just work.”
“You’re not having dramas for coming here?”
“No, no, this is fine. I was always off this weekend, anyway.”
“Alright,” I responded, and we got into the car.
I was in Patrick’s car, in the middle seat in the back, with Tallulah on one side and Luke on the other. My bag was underneath his feet as well as his own, because there wasn’t any room in the boot, nor under my feet. While I knew that there was a risk of feeling queasy, Sloane needed the front due to her morning sickness, and the other car already filled quickly.
“Tallulah, what are you studying this year?”
“I got accepted into vet science at UTAS, I start in a couple of weeks.”
“Thank you, I’m looking forward to it. Who knows, I could become the vet when Jumilah starts her zoo.”
“Well, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to start a zoo, one day.”
“What do you think that you want to do? Would you have a safari park?”
“Well, I hadn’t thought about a drive-through. We might have enough land for that.”
“How much land do you have?”
“Two-hundred and seventy-five hectares,” I answered, but Sloane’s attention was pulled away.
She gripped her stomach tightly.
“I’d like to get out of the car, please,” Sloane requested, so Patrick pulled over at the next rest stop.
She rushed off to vomit in the bushes for a little while, as he held an umbrella over her. Upon returning to the car, it was still raining, and we agreed that I could drive. I felt a little anxious driving Patrick’s car. He wasn’t even in it, he went with Ricky. Sloane sat in the passenger seat, with Tallulah, Luke and Maryam in the back. Thankfully after half an hour the rain stopped, so I was able to flick off the windscreen wipers and breathe out. The sun was shining when we arrived at our accommodation in Launceston. A hammock hung out the front. I couldn’t resist, and jumped into it, somewhat ungracefully, to rock from side to side while gazing up at the trees. When the cars were almost unpacked, I figured that I needed to go and help. Once again we had two rooms, a girls’ room and a guys’ room side by side with the cars parked out the front. I flung myself onto the bed and retrieved my phone from my bag, scrolling through the unread messages I’d received. While I don’t owe anything to work while I’m not around, there’s a good chunk of the staff not around. There was a message from Reuben, which at first almost looked like a scam, but when I read more closely, the string of numbers was a series of phone numbers. Sloane appeared in the doorway to the room.
“Are you good to go?”
“Yep,” I agreed, pulling myself off the bed.
We made sure that we had the key, then we made our way from our rooms to the golf club.
“Wow,” I gushed as I walked into the venue, a wall of stacked cubes flashing to my right.
Tallulah and I curved around them, finding the seats before the stage. Sloane was already sitting in the front row, while the band was setting their instruments up. I glanced at her for a moment, wondering all the secrets she held. Tallulah sat down next to her.
“You’ve got the best seat in the house.”
Tallulah is effortlessly friendly. No wonder we got so close.
We spun around at the sound of Patrick’s voice.
“We’ve been asked to do a wedding.”
With that, it was all hands on deck. Not only did we move the musical equipment, but the golf club reckoned we should shift the glow cubes, too. A cousin of the bride directed us as to where to put them, to not quite make the wedding reception look like a primary school disco.
“The wedding band dropped out at the last minute. So thank goodness you’re here.”
Sloane’s stomach was more settled by the time that we had dinner, provided at a table down the back because some of the groom’s family had been unable to make it from the mainland. I could sense that Patrick was nervous about performing. He ate his food quickly, then wandered off with the band members to be ready by the time that the couple came up for their first dance. Green was the colour of the grass, Patrick sang, as the bride and groom waltzed, like they were made for each other. The bridal party, and the families of the couples, were next to be invited up, then everyone else. Along with the bridesmaids, we were able to dance the night away to the tunes of Tasmania’s finest, Bushmint Lovechild. After a while, the crowd of the dancefloor thinned, as dessert was served. I stayed dancing, with Tallulah.
“Thank you for having me along.”
At the end of the night, we followed the groomsmen and rounded up the wedding guests to form a guard of honour, for the bride and groom to rush through. Once they disappeared into the night, sealed with a kiss, the wedding guests dispersed. We packed up the musical equipment, and somewhere amongst the action, Patrick and I found ourselves back in the guys’ room, exhausted.
“Our very first wedding.” He couldn’t stop giggling. “How about that, how about that?”
I knew that he wasn’t drunk, although there was nothing to stop me from thinking that.
Patrick sat up, then stood up. He opened the mini fridge, but there were only tiny cups of milk inside.
“My mother called before, I probably should call her back.”
For a moment I thought that he might have been mocking me, but Patrick legitimately reached for his phone.
“I’ll go to bed. See you tomorrow.”
I went into the other room to go to sleep, just as the others returned to do the same. No matter how good a day it had been, my body felt heavy.
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.