“Christmas is two weeks away,” Timmy reminded me as we were putting out the chairs for the support group meeting.
My heart started to beat a little faster at the thought. We hadn’t yet put up our Christmas tree, yet the library was adorned with decorations.
“Correct,” I eventually confirmed.
Timmy and I sat down side by side.
“How are you feeling about that?” he wanted to know.
Timmy, as customary, folded his arms in front of his chest. I was just about to fumble out some sort of answer. Yet, the automatic doors parted and its buzz attracted our attention. Mick ambled through them and into the library, dressed casually.
“Hi there,” I greeted him with a wave, hoping that I wouldn’t have to answer Timmy’s question after all.
“Hello,” Mick responded, approaching with a bottle of wine in his hand.
I rose to my feet and scurried over to the staffroom. Opening the door, I was grateful to notice that the set of plastic wineglasses hadn’t moved since the last meeting, or, if they had, they’d been put back in their place. I fetched them. Returning to the others, I noticed that Debbie was fiddling with her ring. I set out the wineglasses, glancing across the library floor. Sitting down, I swallowed, then I fidgeted with the buttons on my work shirt, which I knew was a nervous habit. The rest of the support group members arrived. As Timmy handed the news bear to Dean, I found myself holding my breath. The humidity of summer heightened my nerves.
“We’ll go to church on Christmas Eve, then Christmas morning,” Dean explained.
I thought about turning the air conditioner on, checking whether the green light was illuminated. While I tapped my clammy palms together, Dean handed the news bear over to Mick. They exchanged a bit of a discussion which I wasn’t quite tuned into, followed by laughter.
“Thanks, mate, thanks, mate.”
I noticed that my shoulders were hunched.
“Dessie’s desperate for this baby doll for Christmas,” Mick explained. “She wants one with red hair.”
He laughed, then folded his arms in front of his chest, the news bear perched on his knee.
“You know, I don’t know where she got that from. She’s not a redhead. Dessie’s dark-haired like her mother.”
“We really need to organise our Secret Santa.”
Before I knew it, the news bear was in my hands, and the words were tumbling from my lips.
“I’m just filled with this loss.”
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'.