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Friends

Now that the hockey season was over, I was no longer rushing to get to work at the library on the first Wednesday afternoon in October. Therefore, I calmly parked my car in the best available parking space. Grabbing my bag, already dressed in my uniform, I emerged from the car when the street was clear and closed the door behind me. After locking the car, I ambled over to the library. The automatic doors parted in front of me and I stepped through, greeting Spencer behind the counter with a grin.


“Good afternoon, Nina,” he said, mirroring my smile. “You look like you’ve got an extra spring in your step today.”


“Well, I haven’t just been playing hockey.”


“That’s a point.”


“What’s on your agenda for this afternoon?”


“I’m playing golf again. It’s good exercise for me.”


“Well, enjoy.”


“Thank you.”


Spencer exited the library. I got to work behind the counter, scanning the occasional book for someone who didn’t know how to use the self-serve machines. I tried not to feel lonely. Once the library had closed, I started putting out the chairs for the support group meeting. With that job done, I could study for a little bit. That kept me occupied until the others started arriving. Like usual, Timmy came in first, this time with a plastic container filled with biscuits. When Rod entered the library, Dave walked beside him.


“Hello Rod, hello Dave,” I greeted them, a little surprised to see them both.


“Hello Nina,” Rod replied, his voice quivering a little.


“Come over, take a seat,” I advised them.


Timmy rose to his feet. We glanced between each other awkwardly, not sure what exactly to say. Eventually, I wordlessly sourced another chair. Rod and Dave sat down.


“You know, it’s the, um, anniversary of when I disappeared,” Dave pointed out in his broad accent. “I was thinking that, if you permit, I could address the group and tell them a bit about why I did what I did and then how I felt when I found out that Gracie had disappeared.”


“If you’re willing,” Timmy responded.


It was the opposite of an agreement, at least in my view, but he couldn’t exactly straight out deny Dave.


“Thank you, I really appreciate that,” Dave replied.


Once the support group meeting concluded, I was eager to get home quickly. I even left Timmy to lock up, which I knew that he would be fine with. As soon as I returned to the house, my parents were ready to pack the car. I couldn’t stop thinking about Dave speaking about his own disappearance. After closing the boot, Dad padded over to the front of the car and opened the door. He moved onto the driver’s seat and shut the door again, before fastening his seatbelt. Finally, Dad reversed out of the driveway and we were away, en route to our holiday house at Shoal Bay, for a much-needed few days away. The Devereux family were not joining us, even though they were half owners of the apartment as well. I was grateful, because I didn’t want to be on holidays with Geoff at this stage. Mum switched on the radio, so that some pop music could break the silence. I pressed the button to wind down the window just a little. A breeze filtered in to the car, ruffling my pink hair just a bit. I took a deep breath. When the air started to overwhelm me, I raised the window once again, so that the car was sealed again.


“Why did you buy the place at Shoal Bay in the first place?” I asked.


“We thought it would be cheaper in the long-run, especially going in with Greg and Natalie.”


 

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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