When we stepped out of the lecture theatre, Lizzie was glued to her phone.
“Oh my goodness,” she blurted out, pausing.
“What?” I asked, halting as well.
“Laurel has a new boyfriend and they’re coming over tonight,” Lizzie divulged.
“Your cousin Laurel?” I sought clarification.
“Yes,” Lizzie confirmed. “She has a notorious history of hopeless boyfriends. She moved to Fiji with one once and he was a fundamentalist, he was an absolute creep.”
We resumed walking in the direction of the shopping centre.
“I suppose that people can show you different sides of themselves,” I commented.
“You can’t talk, Nina,” she insisted. “When have you ever had a boyfriend to know anything about relationships?”
I drew my eyebrows together, a little taken aback.
“I’m younger than you, Lizzie,” I pointed out.
“Only by just over a month,” Lizzie reminded, which was true. “You’ve never had a boyfriend, Nina.”
I could tell that I was blushing.
“But that doesn’t mean you’ve never had the hots for someone. I reckon you have the hots for someone right now.”
“What about John?”
Lizzie shot me a glare.
“What about John?”
We arrived at the café.
“Hello, Juliet, all set for tomorrow?”
“Never been more ready.”
“Your dress is ready?”
“Yes,” Juliet confirmed with a nod. “I went and collected it from the boutique this morning. It’s hanging in my room as we speak.”
“Oh, that’s so exciting!” Lizzie gushed.
“I’m going to catch the bus home, I have a whole heap of uni stuff to do,” I announced.
Lizzie turned to me. I knew that I could have stayed, at least for a milkshake or something. Still, both Lizzie and Juliet had work to do, and I didn’t want to get in their way.
“See you tomorrow,” we farewelled each other, even though I had a heavy heart.
I walked away towards the bus stop. A chill came over my body. I should have stayed; I wanted to stay, although I couldn’t bring myself to. What the wedding day would bring remained uncertain, and I didn’t want to think about it just yet. I fetched my Opal card from my bag, just in time for the bus to sail past. Second chance, another choice. Faintly I could smell cigarette smoke. It made me feel sick to my stomach. I didn’t really know anyone personally who smoked. I moved away from the scent. This drew me from the bus stop, and back in the direction of the café.
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'.