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Waleed and I once again congregated at the university library. It felt like a little bit of a secret ritual for us, even though it wasn’t exactly hidden. Waleed retrieved his laptop and placed it on the table. He flipped open the lid and pressed the power button, then turned to me as the device loaded.

“What’s a good wedding song?” Waleed wanted to know.

“I don’t know,” I admitted, following by a bit of a laugh. “Are you thinking of getting married?”

“No,” Waleed confirmed, shaking his head. “I mean, I really want to one day, but not just yet, I’m not in a position to. Actually, I’m helping Jumilah choose her wedding song.”

“Oh, that’s nice of you.”

Waleed logged into his laptop.

“Let me have a think about it.”

I tilted my head to the side, as if it recalibrated my brain. The question gave us something to chat about, which wasn’t how we were going.

“I mean, I’m not being completely altruistic, I’m also procrastinating.”

“Right. What should you be doing?”

“Studying. Doing my notes, writing them up after class. There’s always something more I should be doing, and always a distraction.”

“You know, Geoff and I were talking about having kids--.”

“Right now?”

“No.” I laughed. “Maybe, you know, ten years down the track. He would like sooner, I think, but he’s older than me, so that makes sense. That biological clock’s ticking--.”

My statement was in jest, but it wasn’t incorrect.

“I mean, I know we’re a little bit lucky, we’re so lucky, that we’re at this stage of our lives and we just know. Not everyone’s in that position, I mean--.”

I was thinking that the man before me wasn’t so lucky, but I didn’t want to presume.

“Oh, I know.” I noticed Waleed’s expression falter. “I mean, you can’t choose these things, I know, no matter what our parents might say.”

The background noises of the library filled the silence, as I didn’t know what to say.

“True,” I added. “Very, very true.”


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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