This afternoon, I waited with bated breath, for Zipporah to arrive.
“Hello, Nina,” Timmy greeted me when he passed through the automatic doors. “Are you alright? You look a bit shaken up.”
“Yep,” I replied, a little abruptly. “I’m just anxious for Zipporah, and about how Natalia’s going.”
I laughed, nervously.
“It’s funny how it’s everything that she’s ever wanted but it’s still so complicated,” I remarked, “and she’s pregnant, too. Zipporah seems far too young to be a grandmother.”
“Well, it’s reality,” Timmy reminded, “and, I’ve heard from Zipporah, she’s bringing Natalia tonight, but she is looking to apply to the Family Court to legally obtain custody of her daughter.”
Almost on cue, they entered.
“Hello,” I greeted them, with a breath out.
Zipporah stood just inside the library. She kept her arm around Natalia’s shoulders, always, as if she’d vanish to dust if she was let go.
“Hi, Nina,” Natalia replied, with a smile and a polite wave. “Nice to see you.”
I stepped out from behind the counter.
“Nice to see you too, Natalia,” I answered, stepping closer to her, relaxing my arms even though nerves pulsated through me. “What have you been getting up to this week?”
“Getting to know my Mum,” Natalia responded.
She glanced up dreamily at Zipporah. The grin on her face was ever-present, yet the older woman’s expression was paler than usual, as if she was exhausted. Natalia glanced down at her baby bump.
“And getting ready for what’s ahead,” she added. “It’s hard to think that Mum went through all of this, then lost me.”
“Natalia’s decided to keep her baby,” Zipporah divulged, “and any support that she needs, I’ll be there.”
Within my chest, my heart was beating much too fast. My gaze darted between Zipporah and Natalia, and the automatic front doors of the library. Almost I expected Mitchell to step through, at any moment. When Jamie entered, with Clementine by his side, I jumped a little.
“You’re back.” Clementine breathed out, relieved. “Both of you.”
“Well, hello, hello,” Noel greeted as he entered. “I brought wine.”
Natalia snuggled in closer to Zipporah’s side.
“Of course, I understand that a number of us can’t drink,” Noel pointed out.
Natalia stood up a little straighter.
“I’ve had wine before,” she revealed.
“I didn’t know that,” Zipporah confessed.
“There are still some things that you don’t know,” Natalia reminded. “We haven’t talked that much.”
Dean ambled into the library. He wrapped Zipporah and Natalia into a tight hug, rocking from side to side. Rod stepped in next to me, attracting my attention.
“Natalia’s back again,” I explained. “I haven’t asked about the Family Court, Timmy mentioned that.”
“If you want my advice, I wouldn’t mentioned it,” Rod warned, “and I wouldn’t tell your boy, Geoff, either, or any of his police mates.”
“Geoff’s not my boyfriend,” I corrected.
“Not yet,” Aaron chimed in with a cheeky grin.
I knew that I was blushing, and was hoping that someone would change the subject.
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'.