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Guilt

I pulled up my car under Greg and Natalie’s carpark, parking it and switching off the ignition before opening the door and stepping out. I closed the door behind me and locked the car, before scurrying across the concrete to the couple of stairs, which I stepped up. Approaching the door, I checked the screen door.

 

“It’s unlatched,” Natalie called out in confirmation.


Bobbing my head, I opened the door. I stepped inside, beckoned by the smells of dinner cooking on the stove.


“That smells fabulous, Natalie,” I commended. “It’s exactly what I need today.”

 

Yet, as I curved around the corner, my stomach flipped. I pressed my hand to my lower abdomen.


“Are you alright, Nina?” Natalie checked, drawing her eyebrows together in concern.


“Yeah,” I agreed, nonetheless sounding unconvinced. “I just felt a little bit queasy all of a sudden, that’s all.”

 

“Well, if you don’t feel like tea, no worries,” Natalie insisted.


“No, no, it’s fine,” I countered, smiling at her. “I’m sure that I’ll be alright.”


I padded over to the table and sat down.


“Compared to what Sofia’s going through, I’m absolutely fine,” I pointed out.

 

“Don’t compare,” Natalie chastised. “I mean, it’s not like you’ve had absolutely everything go your way.”


“But at least we’ve got hope,” I mentioned. “Sofia doesn’t have that.”


Natalie padded across to the bench, on which she rested her elbows.

 

“We’re all lucky and we’re all unfortunate,” she rationalised. “You’re clever to remember both.”


I smiled briefly.


“Thanks, Natalie,” I said.


“No worries,” she replied, stepping back from the bench again. “It’s my job.”

 

Natalie turned back to the stove.


“Which facet?” I wanted to know. “As my brother’s godmother, as a kind-of mother-in-law?”


“All of them,” Natalie insisted. “I don’t have a daughter, Nina.”


I knew what she meant – that I was, and always would be, like a daughter to her. When we returned home from the Devereuxs’ place, I headed down the back to watch TV, enjoying my tall glass of chilled water. My stomach was unsettled and I felt heavy with tiredness, so I would be off to bed next. I heard footsteps coming down the hallway and shifted a little. Mum emerged at the top of the stairs.


 

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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