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I arrived at Greg and Natalie’s house, knowing that Geoff would be there, given that he had a rostered day off. While I could have asked him for help with studying, I knew that I’d brought my books along with me as little more than a prop. We greeted each other with a soft kiss to the lips.

“I’m feeling so tired,” I complained, perhaps a bit insensitively given Geoff’s workload.

“Do you . . . well . . . I mean, I could give you a massage?”

“You know, I always appreciate help dyeing my hair.”

“Alright,” Geoff agreed, nodding his head.

We followed the usual procedure, as instructed by the directions on the packet. The touch of Geoff’s fingers against my scalp and neck sent warmth throughout my whole body. Finally, he kissed me on the lips, then left me to wash my hair in the shower, solo. A part of me was very tempted to ask Geoff to join me. While we stayed overnight together, we hadn’t taken our relationship to the next level, so to speak. I doubted Mum and Dad would have appreciated walking in to find their only daughter in the shower, not alone. Before I had the chance to ponder whether or not Greg and Natalie would feel differently, I turned off the tap. I looked at myself in the mirror. Once again I was that pink-haired punk rocker of a uni student without a care in the world. I dried, dressed myself and returned to Geoff.

“Are you feeling alright?”

I fiddled with the loose skin of my knuckle, on my ring finger on my left hand. For a moment I pictured what it would be like to wear an engagement ring on that finger.

“Yeah,” I responded, despite my tiredness.

Geoff proved himself to be an expert with the blow dryer.

“I love you.”

Kissing me on the cheek, Geoff promised that he loved me too. We sat down for Friday night dinner. Not long after, we heard a sudden flurry of bangs outside. Rushing outside onto the driveway, our eyes were drawn up. Fireworks glittered just above the trees. My lips widened, in awe at the beauty of the sight. It was magical. They continued to spread out in the dark sky. Geoff curled his arm around my abdomen, pulling me into a loving hug. He brushed a gentle kiss above my hairline just above my ear. Geoff’s embrace was warm. I felt safe within his arms. During a lull in the fireworks, my gaze flickered over to the empty space to my right. I still felt the pang of Mitchell’s absence. Eventually, we returned inside. The dinner Natalie prepared had gone cold, so she gave it a spin in the microwave.

“Alright, take two.”

She handed over the plates. We chowed into our food. Before going to sleep, I said my prayers. Even with my eyes half-closed, I could see Geoff watching me. He was sat atop the chair which was an heirloom within the McDonald family, having been covered in green and gold fabric since I was a child.


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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