“Good news, Jumilah,” Reuben greeted me.
I’d returned to the couch where I slept in the house near the quarantine station. The humidity had been getting the better of me. Really, I wanted to sleep, but I propped myself up onto my elbows.
“What’s the good news?”
“I’ve just been speaking to Sam. He actually does speak highly of you, and the ZAA is going to place its backing behind importing whichever animals it’s able to.”
A smile came onto my clammy lips.
“That is good news,” I confirmed.
Reuben got me a drink of water, without me having to ask. Despite my disenfranchisement, this I was grateful for, taking small sips. At least if the animals were imported to Australia, Nanek would be able to see them more regularly. We would have a hope at one day being able to bring them to Hobart, although they would never go home.
“Thank you. I appreciate it.”
“I’m doing my best, Jumilah.”
“I know that you are.”
As I took another sip, my chest was starting to feel more settled, which I was grateful for.
“I’m sorry. Is there more work to do?”
“No, not at the moment.” Reuben consulted his watch.
We sat there in silence for a moment. I figured that he must have been grateful for the rest as well, as Melbourne isn’t that much warmer than Hobart.
“We’ll all have to go home eventually.”
“Do you have a flight booked?”
“No, not yet, but as lovely as this is, there’s only so much we can do here. Adam is more than capable of caring for the animals while they serve their quarantine.”
“Nanek would stay, if she can.”
“That would be up to Adam, but I’m sure that he wouldn’t mind having her. She knows the animals, she’ll work hard.” Reuben gave a dry laugh. “Of course, we’d have her at Melbourne Zoo if she wants a job with me.”
“I’m sure she’d think about it. She just wants to work with animals and look after them and care for them. I can’t even think about what it would be like for her.”
“It’s difficult for you as well,” Reuben told me. “Have you been seeing a therapist?”
“No, I haven’t.”
“You should, after what you’ve been through.”
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.