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Patrick came over for a drink this evening, where we could bask in the evening light.

“Is it nice being back?” he wanted to know.

“Of course, it is. Still, I had an amazing time. I learned a lot. There were so many new people I met, I got to live with housemates for the very first time, that was cool.”

“Yeah, it would be.”

Mum called me inside so that I could help her with the dinner.

“Jumilah, what’s going on with you and Patrick?”

I sighed softly.

“We’re strictly friends,” I insisted, “but it’s nice being friends. Please, if Dad says anything--.”

“I’ll support you. I’m proud of you, Jumilah. It’s not like I don’t know about staying friends when there have been romantic feelings involved in the past.”

“Of course.”

Mum and I carried the dinner outside, where we could sit and eat. It felt nice to have Patrick as part of the family again, even though so much had changed. We were – as I had promised Mum – just friends. After saying grace, we tucked into our food and started chatting about the zoo again. It seemed like one of the few topics of conversation I could hold.

“We’re thinking that we’ll open up on Boxing Day, if we can.”

“That’s smart, it’ll capture the school holiday crowd, it’s a public holiday--.”

“It’s the first anniversary of when my grandfather was killed.”

“Of course.”

We sat and watched the sun go down. My chest swelled with happiness. It was the possibility of a new thing, something which I held so much hope for. Suddenly, I felt and saw a crimson drip onto my shirt.

“Oh my goodness.”

I clamped my hand over my face.

“Oh, you poor thing, here, have a tea towel.”

Patrick handed it over, so I could place it against my nose.

“Thank you, this is embarrassing.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

Patrick showed his mega-watt smile. Even though we weren’t together, when he was around, I trusted that everything was going to be OK.


Jumilah Fioray is a recent high school graduate from lutruwita, Tasmania. Her parents, Catherine and Adriano Fioray, met at the University of Melbourne in the 1990s and returned to Hobart after finishing their degrees, where they raised their daughter and worked in agriculture. Jumilah's passion for conservation reflects her grandparents' work running a sanctuary in Sumatra.

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 has long had a passion for the weird and the wonderful of stories, sport and zoo animals. 'From the Wild' is her first anthology.

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