I was sitting on Geoff’s bed, cross-legged, at nearly three in the morning. Geoff was lounging around on the floor, knees bent and ankles crossed. His laptop was open in front of him and he was lying on his stomach, looking up pictures of fancy cars and houses, his regular pastime. I couldn’t help but smile. My face fell for a moment when my phone unexpectedly rang.
“Oh, hi, Timmy, how are you?” I greeted him.
Geoff looked up for a moment. I thought one of his eyebrows was raised, so I wetted my lips with my tongue.
“Ashton Fernando’s alive. Sofia’s going over there to bring him home. He’s alright, he’s going to be alright.”
No matter how tired I might have felt, I was happy, for the first time in months, or at least giddy enough to see me through.
“Where did they find him?”
“I don’t really have details.”
“Thanks for telling me.”
We ended the call.
“Ashton Fernando is still alive.”
Geoff’s gaze trailed away.
“Timmy just told me. I’m not sure what happened. That’s good, isn’t it? It’s really good that he’s alive.”
Geoff finally yawned.
“I think we should go to bed now.”
I padded down the stairs. Heading into the spare room, I tucked myself into bed and finally fell asleep. In the morning I had breakfast with the Devereuxs. Golden light filtering in through the windows, I didn’t really want to go home. Still, following breakfast, I knew Mum and Dad would want me home. I thanked the Devereuxs for having me, then drove home. Parking out the front, I let myself back into the house, locating Mum in the hallway, crouched over and tying up her shoelaces.
I stashed my bag in my room.
“Come with me for a walk, it’ll do you good.”
I didn’t have an argument against that, so I put my shoes on and we left the house.
“How are things going with you and Geoff?”
“What do you mean ‘how are things going’?”
“Well, you’ve been spending a lot of time at Greg and Natalie’s place.”
“They’re our family friends, they’re practically family.”
I shrugged my shoulders. We headed down near the local park. Some kids were shooting hoops, laughing and teasing each other. I recalled being a little kid with Mitchell, once he got to the age when Mum and Dad trusted him to take me out on our own. Always a tall kid, I thought that he could have a future as a basketballer, if he wanted it. Mum and I eventually returned from our walk. We sat down in front of the television to eat. I shovelled the food into my mouth, even though it was a little too hot. Not long after we started dinner, the Masked Singer came on.
The younger sister of missing Sydney man Mitchell del Reyan, Nina del Reyan lives on Dharug land in western Sydney. She has recently commenced a teaching degree at Macquarie University. Nina loves her family and friends and is deeply committed to finding answers and justice for the families of missing people.
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 desires to explore themes of hope, love and longing through her storytelling. She is the author of 'Shadow' and 'From the Wild'.