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When the music started, the wedding guests rose to their feet. Geoff grasped my hand as Hagar, the first of nine bridesmaids, ambled down the aisle. She carried a small bouquet of pink and white lilies, contrasting against her black gown. Hagar held hands with her nine-year-old daughter, the flowergirl Feya, who carried a cushion bearing the wedding rings. Feya’s dress matched her mother’s flowers. She beamed as she ambled down the aisle, reaching the minister at the other end, turning in her tiny shoes in order to face towards the wedding guests, as did Hagar. Then, our eyes panned back to the other end of the aisle, where the next bridesmaid appeared from. Lizzie followed in a matching black dress, its beads gleaming. She held hands with the seventeen-year-old page boy, Hagar’s son Lemuel. There was a particular light in Lizzie’s smile. He was a very attractive young man, after all. Lemuel, however, hadn’t finished school, so I assumed that that fact would keep Lizzie at bay. Once they reached the minister, Lemuel stepped onto the opposite side. Technically, he was a member of the male bridal party, even though he was linked to the bride. Similarly, Lemuel was technically a child, so he was required to walk down the aisle as a page boy, even though he looked like a grown man. Lexie was next. She wore a red version of the other bridesmaid dress. Lexie grinned towards Waleed, who was standing with the nine groomsmen beside Justin, the groom. I looked at him, also smiling, a little sheepishly. Their eyes didn’t leave each other until Lexie was compelled to look towards the wedding guests. Beside her, Hagar’s six-year-old son Reuven was dressed in a cute little suit. Another relative of Jumilah’s followed, wearing the same red dress as Lexie. She held hands with a seven-year-old boy, Waleed’s nephew Abdul, who beamed at the wedding guests. He milked our attention and I couldn’t help but giggle.

Afterwards was Binjai, the wife of Waleed’s older brother and Abdul’s mother, hand in hand with her eleven-year-old daughter Aziza. The hem of her pale blue gown draped along the aisle. Binjai’s hijab matched her bridesmaid’s gown. When they reached the assembled bridal party, she added to the lengthening line, while Aziza stood beside Feya, the two of them sprinkling the ground with petals. Jenny, another workmate of Jumilah’s, followed after, wearing a similar pale blue gown with another hemline down to her feet. She held hands with her niece and together, they gleefully danced down the aisle before joining the other members of the bridal party. By this point, I had lost count of how many bridesmaids had passed. The final group had arrived, though. They were wearing the beige chiffon dresses. Loren held hands with Jenny’s young nephews and Genevieve and Katie ambled down side by side.


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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