Crash

There was no primate TAG meeting today, for Easter Monday. Next week is ANZAC Day, so the discussion about the Javan Gibbon program will have to wait until May. It’s not exactly of concern to me, although it is a species which I think would be right without our remit being an Indonesian primate, albeit from elsewhere than Sumatra. I was riding to work, excited about the public holiday rates. My mind was full of Lowanna and the zoo. I also couldn’t help but think about Uwak Andrew and Kem. These thoughts churned around in my brain, turning like the wheels of my bike, as I picked up speed down the slope. I felt my body leave the seat, and in a breath, I was on the ground. The wheels of my bike spun to a halt. As I took a moment to catch my breath, a car came along the road. Thankfully, I was out of the way, but it stopped, anyway. A man emerged from the driver’s door, with curly dark hair.


“Hey, are you alright?”


“I’m not sure.”


I wiped my forehead with my hand, but there wasn’t any blood.


“I’m calling an ambulance.”


Despite my protests, the helpful bystander made the call. Paramedics arrived not long after.


“Oh, my goodness, this is so embarrassing,” I muttered under my breath. “I just fell off my bike.”


A young paramedic crouched down in front of me.


“Hey,” they greeted me.


“I’m Jumilah Fioray, I’m eighteen, I work at Sorell Woolworths, I was on my way to work, I didn’t get hit by a car. It’s Monday, it’s Easter Monday, the Prime Minister is Scott Morrison, unfortunately.”


“Impressive,” the paramedic remarked. “We’ve still got to check you out, though.”


They decided they needed to take me to hospital, for scans and observation.


“Thank you,” I said to my bystander friend, while they loaded me into the ambulance.


“You’re welcome.”


Thankfully, my bike wasn’t damaged. The paramedics allowed me to bring it with me in the ambulance, so that it wouldn’t be left on the side of the road. We arrived at the hospital, and I was wheeled into the emergency department. I winced.


“Eighteen-year-old female, fell off her bike, no LOC.”


I tried to think about the zoo. We’re planning for animals from Nanek’s sanctuary, and new species, including bird species. Hopefully compromise and conciliation will be worth it. The paramedics handed me over to a doctor and a nurse.


“Oh, she’s got her bike with her as well.”


One of the other paramedics wheeled it along with her. I thanked her. They found somewhere to park the bike, then they carted me off for scans. The doctor was hot, I couldn’t deny it. He’s definitely hotter than Patrick, although he’s also probably in his thirties or forties, rather than being a seventeen-year-old, so it’s a different demographic altogether. For my mind to be wandering in that way, the painkillers must have been kicking in.


“Good news is that you don’t have any fractures.”


“And is there bad news?”


“Not really. You’re just badly bruised. I say just, but you will still need to take it easy. Wendy here will help you get home.”


“Thank you.”


I stayed in the hallway, because I didn’t need to take up a bed before I was discharged. Wendy, the nurse, left to fetch the paperwork. I called Mum.


“Good morning, Lowanna is absolutely fine.”


“That’s great, that’s great.”


“How’s work?”


“Look, don’t freak out. I’m not at work. I came off my bike on the way. I’m at the hospital, a nice man called an ambulance, but I’m fine.”


“I’ll be there right away.”


My heart was beating a little fast while I was waiting. I knew I needed a good sleep once I returned home with Mum. When Wendy returned, she brought Mum with her.


“I’ve heard this is someone you know,” she remarked.


“She is,” I replied. “See, Mum, I’m alright.”


Wendy handed me discharge papers.


“You just need to sign here and here.”


She pointed out the lines with the pen. I signed the forms, then handed them back over, meaning I would be allowed to leave the hospital. Mum drove me home and got me settled into bed, before Patrick arrived.


“Oh, Jumilah, are you OK?”


“Yeah, I’m fine,” I assured, as Patrick sat down on the bed.


He kissed me on the forehead.


“I’m worried about Lowanna,” I admitted. “She sleeps a lot.”


“She’s a baby, Jumilah, I think that’s what they do.”


“Babies don’t sleep, Patrick,” I corrected. “That’s the whole point of them.”


“Well, I guess that I’m going to find out for sure either way in a few months.”


“Patrick, you’re not the father, and you’re not her boyfriend.”


“I know.”


He kissed me.


“So, you don’t have to worry.”


Patrick parted his lips as if he were about to speak.


“And I’d better get some rest now. Thank you for coming.”


He kissed me again, then saw himself out. I snuggled down in bed, feeling a little guilty, but I couldn’t rest and think about them. Mum came into my room before she was about to go to bed.


“Patrick was really worried about me. It’s very sweet of him.”


“Look, Jumilah, Reuben called before--.”


“Is everything alright?”


“Yes. He wanted to know how you’re going with the wildlife course.”


“Well, that’s a whole other conversation. I need to actually sort something out with that.”


 

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.


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