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Riddance

Around dinner time, the doorbell rang. I immediately leapt up from the couch. Once I’d stepped from the lounge room, I headed down the hallway and opened the door. On the other side, Tallulah was standing, her brow furrowed with concern. Once she’d taken a minute to catch her breath, we stepped forward, into each other’s arms.


“Thank you for coming over,” I murmured.


We stepped back from one another, so that I could let Tallulah properly in the door.


“Well, turned out that I didn’t have any other plans anyway.”


Mum wandered out from the kitchen.


“Hello, Tallulah.”


“I’m so sorry for your loss,” she apologised profusely. “Oh, I--.”


Tallulah glanced over her shoulder, to where her own mother was following after her.


“We brought flowers.”


The arrangement is a giant bundle of natives, which brought a soft smile to my lips, and a tear to Mum’s eye.


“I know that it probably doesn’t--.”


“That’s so kind of you,” I gushed.


Dad went to fetch a vase, to give the flowers pride of place on the kitchen table. There are a few other bunches, and cards to offer condolences, a word that I’ve only recently learned how to spell.


“Come and sit down, we’ve got the tele on,” I mentioned. “Would you like a drink or something?”


“I’ll let you go,” Tallulah’s mother interjected.


“Thanks, see you later,” she farewelled, with a wave.


“You know, I can come back and get you later. I can take you around to have a look at the fireworks at midnight, if you’d like. It’s a bit more spectacular than just watching the mainland ones on the TV.”


Tallulah looked at me, unsure.


“That would be lovely, thank you.”


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Pembroke Park is a large, expansive area of grass – complete with an AFL field – near the centre of the suburb of Sorell. However, this was not where the local New Year’s Eve council fireworks were to be held – their location was diagonally across the road at another large grassy areas near the RSL behind a thick hedge. Tallulah and I arrived shortly before midnight. I felt tired, but thankfully her mother had driven us, although she didn’t sit with us. There was already a number of our fellow Sorell residents congregated there. Young people were reveling with glow sticks in their hair, as well as a number of middle-aged couples leisurely enjoying glasses of wine sprawled out on their picnic blankets.


A collective hush blanketed the group. All eyes darted just above the barrier at the front, behind which we knew the fireworks would rise from. With an expectant slurp of air, the first firework exploded in a burst of red in the night sky. Rising up into the air, breaking through the darkness with bright, burning blobs of every single colour of the rainbow. There were blasts of red, orange, yellow, pink, blue and green. In the distance, a dog barked loudly in hoarse complaint. Tallulah leaned in close to me, her eyes still fixed to the fireworks.


“Happy new year,” she whispered into my ear, with a sense of circumspect hope which I craved to cling to, at least in the absence of any other certainty.


“Happy new year to you too,” I echoed.



 

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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