We sat around in a circle, with two chairs still empty, waiting for Zipporah and Natalia. Eventually, the automatic doors parted and Zipporah entered, alone, with her head bowed. Her nose was red and raw, as she tapped it with a scrunched-up tissue. Zipporah fell into one of the remaining chairs, then finally glanced up.
“Natalia went back,” she divulged.
I could feel my heart sinking.
“We applied to the Court and they told her that she needed to go back until the hearing,” Zipporah explained. “After all, she’s their daughter. She’s not mine, because they’re on the Birth Certificate. Still, I’m lucky, I guess, because they took my concerns seriously. They’re investigating my allegations and there’s a hearing date set, but not until October.”
Debbie handed over another packet of tissues. Zipporah accepted it gratefully, mumbling her thanks. She finally glanced up at me.
“And Nina,” Zipporah added.
I sat up straighter, a jolt of adrenaline coursing through me.
“Thank you so very much to Geoff and the other police officers.” Zipporah shook her head with gratitude. “They were so generous and could have just locked me up for keeping Natalia to myself.”
Instinctively, I burst to my feet and rushed over to her. Zipporah stood up quickly and wrapped me into a tight embrace, almost pulling me onto her chair. Within her arms, I felt a little suffocated and stuck. When Zipporah eventually let go, I could finally breathe out.
“I am going to get my daughter back,” she insisted. “Just because people have been good to me, it doesn’t mean things are good enough.”
Zipporah’s anguish made me anxious, and I gave her hand a final squeeze.
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'.