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I swilled a glass of water, while sitting at the kitchen table at Geoff’s house, a plate of dinner in front of me. Faintly I could hear the six o’clock news. I started my crumbed chicken, while absorbing the stories – damages awarded to a promising athlete injured in a car accident, Invasion Day rallies backing Treaty over Voice.

“Are you going to the university swimming meet tomorrow?” Natalie enquired.

“Yeah,” I answered, feeling a little faint. “I’m planning to.”

“Nobody would blame you if you didn’t want to.”

“Thanks, Natalie.”

I finished off my food. Natalie whisked my plate away. I felt like a villain, or at least the anti-hero. While Natalie cleaned up the kitchen, it was like I wore a blindfold, the world around me made up of visual white noise. As the news bulletin ended, Geoff approached.

“I’m going to go to bed soon, I think,” I announced, knowing I needed sleep.

“Would you like me to come to bed with you, for a cuddle?”

“I am very, very tempted,” I told Geoff, “but I do need to get some sleep tonight, and these beds are a bit squishy for two.”

“You could come upstairs with me.”

I was sorely tempted, my body aching for Geoff’s. The live-action painting of the world around me crystallised sharply, the presence of his parents opaque.

“We’d better not.”

Geoff accepted my decision, and I dragged myself to the bedroom, dropping under the covers. I reached for my phone and noticed an unread text from Hayley.

A few of us are going back up to Toukley again in a little while – me, Kale, Dinah, Napthali, Callista too I think. Would you like to come? No stress either way.

Yeah of course; I agreed, without having to think about it.

Are you going to the swimming tomorrow?; Hayley wanted to know.


I yawned.

See you tomorrow xx; I ended the conversation.

Rolling onto my side, I placed down my phone. I settled down in bed and nodded off to sleep.


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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