We played hockey away on Wednesday afternoon, for our final match of the regular season, before the semi-finals.
“If we win today . . .” I began, while in the car with Rose on the way to the field in Cherrybrook, who were our opposition.
“We make the semi-finals regardless,” Rose supplied. “Cherrybrook can make the semi-finals if it’s a draw today. They would have to rely on Northmead losing, though, but they’re playing Baulkham Hills, so that’s likely.”
“And if we lose to Cherrybrook today?” I proposed.
“They definitely go through and Northmead misses out, even if they beat Baulkham Hills or hold them to a draw,” Rose answered.
Thankfully, we won anyway. The mood was joyous amongst the team, even though we knew that our work for the season wasn’t yet over. There were still the finals to come. Rose dropped me back, allowing me to make my own way to the library. I pulled up the car in my regular spot outside work, then checked the road. Crossing over the clear street, I ducked out of the sun. I knew that the whole situation involved a little bit of back and forth.
“Nina.” Spencer was beaming as I entered the library. “How was your hockey match?”
“A draw,” I replied, still a little defeated, “so we’re still making the semi-finals next week and Cherrybrook go through as well in fourth place. It was a good comeback, though, we went one-nil down early.”
Spencer placed his palms down on the counter top. He swayed forward, then pushed himself back again.
“Well, now that you’re here, Nina, that’s my call to be off,” Spencer announced.
I checked my watch, then laughed. Spencer departed. The library was always quiet in between its closure and the support group meeting. Yet, I found the silence unnerving, so I switched on Spencer’s radio hidden amongst the back shelves. I figured that he wouldn’t mind. Carefully, I lifted the papers off the radio and placed them on the counter, where I would be sure to spot them again on the way out. Spencer wouldn’t mind, I was pretty sure, but I wanted to make sure that the radio was adequately concealed once again. Soon enough, the support group members started filing in. Debbie was responsible for bringing the snacks.
“This is really, really nice.” She laid out a cheese platter. “At least I hope so.”
Bringing along the snacks was one of the ways in which members contributed to the support group. Timmy was a paid worker, although considering my experience with the library, I was happy to help out to make sure the space was inviting. As we sat down, a part of me wanted to say a prayer as we commenced. I was filled with uncertainty. Hopefully it would be sparkles, rather than dust. I glanced across the table. Brigitta would be first with the news bear. She always brought wise, mum energy, which I very much appreciated.
“It’s my son’s birthday on Friday.” Brigitta laughed and reached out a little to steady the news bear resting on her knee. “Anyway, we’re having a party at my place in Harris Park on Saturday night at probably about 6 o’clock. I’ll probably have my act together by then. Everyone’s more than welcome to come.”
She giggled softly, but soon her smile fell. The rest of the group was subdued as usual.
“How old will your son be?” Timmy asked.
His arms were folded in front of his chest.
“Twenty-three,” Brigitta answered.
“The same age as Mitchell,” I pointed out.
Brigitta looked over to me, pressing her lips together and nodding. She then leaned back in her plastic seat and held the news bear a little tighter. Surely Brigitta must have mourned Jerry still, despite the time and animosity which passed like water under the bridge. We were ambling out of the library that night, following the support group meeting.
“I’m actually looking forward to my weekend this weekend,” Dean explained. “We’re getting together for lunch on Saturday, after church, the whole family, the whole family that we’re able to speak to, obviously.”
His smile fell just for a moment. As we reached the automatic doors, I hung back. It was my responsibility to lock up the library, to turn off the lights and pass through the doors one last time.
“That sounds lovely,” I praised.
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'.