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Altitude

Geoff lay in his hospital bed, still laden down by thick white bandages.


“Oh,” he spoke up, “would you be able to give me my phone, please?”


Wordlessly, I stood up and stepped over. I opened the top drawer and retrieved Geoff’s mobile phone, placing it under his palm with a small smile.


“I just needed to let Aaron know that I obviously can’t play golf with him this afternoon,” he commented, straining his neck so that he could look at the screen.


“Darling.” Geoff looked at me, and I allowed myself a little bit of a cheeky grin. “He knows. He won’t expect you to be there. I just hope that you’ll be well enough to go to the wedding on Wednesday.”


“Here’s hoping,” Geoff replied. “I still just want to send Aaron a message to apologise, though.”


“Of course, because you’re a nice man,” I explained. “That’s just one of the reasons why I love you.”


Geoff placed his phone down beside his leg. He swallowed, then told me that he loved me too. I texted Aaron to confirm and apologise.


“You have that party tonight, don’t you? The one with Rose?”


“Yeah,” I replied, a little anxiously, “but I’m not going. Would you like me to brush your hair or something?”


I reached for the hairbrush.


“Still go, please,” Geoff urged.


He cleared his throat.


“I want you to have a beautiful life.”


My eyes welled with tears. As I walked away, my phone tolled. It was just a message in the support group chat, confirming our next meeting would be on Tuesday, rather than Wednesday. I didn’t want to show up at the party with mascara streaked across my face. Yet, I didn’t have any to touch up. While stopped at traffic lights, I used a handkerchief to wipe off everything I could. I parked the car on the street, from where I could peer through the trees to confirm that I had arrived at the correct destination, for Rose’s cousin’s engagement party. Grabbing my bag and the present I had brought, I checked the road and wait for a car to pass, before opening the door. I couldn’t help but feel a little lonely while I stepped out of the car. Geoff was still in hospital and, given that Rose was helping out, I hadn’t travelled with her. I accidentally slammed the door behind me. To get off the road before another car came, I scampered up onto the nature strip.


 

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'.


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