When my alarm blasted this morning, I needed to reacquaint myself. My name is Jumilah Fioray. I am going to go to work at Woolworths. My family lives in Tasmania. I lose my memory and my mind sometimes, so I need to reclaim what is true. Taking a breath, I got out of bed, to make myself a cup of tea to give me the energy to get on with the day. I knew that, after work, we would be meeting with the council. We would be one step closer to following in Kakek’s footsteps and achieving our dreams. That I clung to, to give me the strength.
The Sorell Council building is just around the corner from work. As soon as I finished my shift, I raced out of there, which I wanted to do anyway.
“Am I late?” I asked Mum and Dad, who were waiting out the front when I arrived.
“No, you’re fine,” Mum assured me, “but we’ll head in there now.”
As we shifted towards the building, the automatic doors parted before us. We passed through and approached the counter.
“Catherine and Adriano Fioray, we’ve got a land use meeting for 4:45,” Mum informed the receptionist.
“Ah, with Bruce.”
“That must be the one.”
A man appeared from an open doorway nearby.
“I’m Bruce, I’ll see you.”
We followed him into the office. I was trying not to blanket the office with my gaze, the clutter familiar but overwhelming. The floor was covered in pale grey carpet, spotted with piles of files. Directly in front of us there were only two office chairs, side by side. The seats and backs were black leather. I seemed to take in every detail of the room, as a means of staying in it altogether.
“Oh, let me find you another chair.”
Bruce scurried off to a side room. He returned after only a few moments, with an additional chair, which he placed beside the other two.
We sat down, and Bruce walked around his desk to take his own seat.
“So, it appears that you’re wanting to rezone your land in order to build a zoo there,” he noted.
“Yes,” Mum confirmed.
While Bruce had a file open in front of him, she handed over additional documents. I knew that Mum would have been hard at work, while I had been working.
“These are the copies of the property title and its current zoning, which we’re under the impression would be inadequate for our venture.”
Bruce nodded his head. Hopefully it wouldn’t be too difficult to remedy.
“Right, well, there are some forms you’ll need to fill out.”
Bruce fetched them from a small stack of shelves on his desk. He handed the pages over to Mum, who accepted them, then fetched her own pen.
When we left the meeting, there were a number of missed calls on Mum’s phone. We lingered outside the council building.
“Ibu’s called,” Mum noted, “but I can ring her back in the car.”
They’d parked outside the shopping centre. As we ambled back over, Mum returned the call, greeting Nanek when she answered. I ducked out the back for my bike, which I wheeled across to take home with me. As I got into the back seat, I started picking up on the conversation Mum and Nanek were having. I closed the door and fastened my seatbelt across my chest as Dad turned on the ignition. Mum told Nanek that it was up to her. She could speak with the police. Or she could not, if she doesn’t want to. My heart thumped faster at the thought of the investigation, but I can only hope that it will bring some sort of justice, and keep Nanek and the animals safe. As Dad drove us home, Nanek and Mum’s conversation moved on.
The Bluetooth kicked in in the car, so that we could hear both sides. Mum told Nanek that we were going back home from meeting with the council, and that we’ve got forms to fill out. It’s no guarantee that we will be able to rezone the land. There is a process where the council will review and consult other local residents, as to their views. I admitted aloud that that part makes me nervous. Nanek went quiet, and Mum filled the silence by explaining that all we could do was try. All we can do is fill out the forms and submit them. From there, we will see what happens. We returned home and went inside. Mum started making dinner, and I was able to rest my legs after a long day’s work.
Jumilah Fioray is a recent high school graduate from lutruwita, Tasmania. Her parents, Catherine and Adriano Fioray, met at the University of Melbourne in the 1990s and returned to Hobart after finishing their degrees, where they raised their daughter and worked in agriculture. Jumilah's passion for conservation reflects her grandparents' work running a sanctuary in Sumatra.
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 has long had a passion for the weird and the wonderful of stories, sport and zoo animals. 'From the Wild' is her first anthology.