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Breathe

I entered the café around the same time as the Lavers.


“Hello,” Jessa gushed, just as enthusiastic as I remembered her to be. “I know I saw it last week, but I love your hair.”


She embraced me tightly, planting a kiss on my cheek.


“Oh, thank you. Mitchell dyed it, originally.”


As she pulled back, Jessa’s face fell.


“It’s awful, isn’t it?” she remarked and naturally I nodded my head.


Belinda shuffled forward, making her presence felt.


“Have you heard anything more from the police?” Jessa wanted to know.


“No, we haven’t, not really,” I answered.


I sensed that my brow was furrowed, and Jessa mirrored my expression, appearing concerned.


“How are you going?”


She finally grinned, which did make me feel better.


“We’re going really well, thank you. It’s been great being in our own place.”


I finally caught sight of Jessa’s left hand, one of her fingers weighed down by a diamond. As I gasped, she nodded her head to confirm my suspicions.


“Can I help you with anything?”


Before Jessa could elaborate on her engagement, a waitress seated us in a booth. It functioned well as a table for three. The waitress placed down menus. We ordered hot drinks to start off with – a latte for Jessa, an English breakfast for Belinda, and a hot chocolate for me.


“Coming right up.”


As the waitress departed, I returned my attention to Jessa.


“It was really, really magical.” She beamed. “We were just at home, at our new home, cooking dinner. We’d just put the pasta bake in the oven.”


“And you thought Jamal was slacking off.”


“Yes, yes, I did,” she confirmed, blush creeping underneath her complexion. “Turned out he was just making everything absolutely perfect.”


The rest of the details were a fairytale. Jamal got down on bended knee to pop the question.


“I said yes, of course.”


Jessa tucked some blonde hair behind her ear, just another opportunity for her ring to sparkle. When our drinks were brought out, we ordered an assortment of sweet treats to tuck into.


“I’m so pleased for you.”

I couldn’t help but think about Mitchell. Sure, we’d known others to get married, but this seemed to hit different.

“What decisions have you made about the wedding?”


“You know, we’d love to have kids. That’s for after the wedding, of course.”

Jessa giggled. There was a glow on her face which I’d observed ever since she entered this relationship with Jamal. Jessa seemed so sure. A part of me felt jealous, but it wasn’t that I couldn’t relate.


I glimpsed Jessa’s ring again. I’d not really pondered before what sort of engagement ring I would like.

“We have thought about where we might like to go on our honeymoon. We’d like to go overseas.”

“That would be lovely.”


Once we finished, I returned to the car. It was only once I dropped onto the chair that I allowed myself to break down. I wiped unexpected tears from my eyes. Rather than taking the time, I chose to drive home and let myself back into the house.


“Jessa and Jamal are engaged,” I announced to my parents.


I breathed in through my nose.


“There’s something I would like to show you.”


Mum led me through into my bedroom, where she’d purchased me a desk lamp, out of the box and set up.


“Thank you.”


Mum turned on the lamp. As the soft light of rainbow colours slowly blended into one another, I could feel my muscles relaxing. After that, we needed to decide what we were going to eat for dinner.


“Honestly, I’d be happy just to order a pizza,” Dad noted, and that we did.


I found myself a little on edge, so was thankful when it arrived. I stepped out onto the front porch. An icy breeze blew, shaking the shrubs and exposing the rips in the flyscreen. The young fella handed over the pizza boxes to me.


 

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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