This morning I woke up with a spring in my step, for the first day of the Sheffield Shield final at Bellerive Oval. I would be working, but I planned to keep up with the scores as much as I could. Thankfully, it was bright and sunny, ideal for cricket. Picture-perfect, blue sky – just right for riding my bike into Sorell as well.
“Hey,” Lucy greeted me as I arrived out the front.
“Hello,” I replied, while I removed my helmet.
I clipped it to my bike, which I chained up out the front. I’m used to the new position of the bike rack now.
“How have you been?”
“Yeah, busy, but I’ve been going alright,” I answered. “How about you?”
“Yeah, I’m going good. A fair bit’s changed though in the last week or so.”
“You’re not wrong there.”
“So, is Kevin in charge now?”
“Well, he certainly thinks he is.”
“Shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic more like it.”
I laughed as we headed through the building, then got to work, with me on a checkout. During my lunch break, I was eager to get back to my phone in the staffroom, for updates. Tallulah had sent me a photo from the ground. Blue sky, a green, fast outfield – I grinned at the absolutely perfect day for cricket.
I’m on my break at the moment; Tallulah texted, so I called her.
“It’s a beautiful day. We’re batting first, off to a good start. Kyle’s still in the sheds.”
“That sounds absolutely gorgeous.”
“Yeah, it is,” Tallulah confirmed. “I’m stuck in the café for now, but I get to look at the beach, so it’s not that bad.”
I thought about going to the bathroom after we got off the phone, before I returned to work.
“Sorry, I’m getting another call.” I checked the screen of my phone. “Mum’s ringing.”
I wandered towards the back door and answered the phone.
“Hi, Mum, how are you going? I’m just at work at the moment.”
“Jumilah, I’m in hospital. There’s something wrong. The pregnancy, it’s ectopic. It’s gone. I’ve got to go into surgery, but can you come here, please?”
“Yeah, I can get to the hospital. Of course, I can get to the hospital.”
I raced out the back door and down the stairs. The door slammed shut behind me. Swinging off the railing I launched through the loading dock. I arrived at my bike and slotted my helmet onto my head, to ride away before I even had the chance to explain to anyone at work while I’d suddenly left. Somehow I had the presence of mind to catch the bus, rather than ride the whole way. When I arrived at the hospital, I rushed to the counter.
“Hello, my mother’s here as a patient, Catherine Fioray.”
The clerk looked up her name.
“She’s in surgery, in K Block on level seven. You’ll have to go around to Campbell Street and up the lift.”
I rushed out and onto the street. Right, then right, I ran and, puffing, I arrived at K Block. The automatic doors parted before and I passed through, taking a breath to try to regain composure. I travelled up in the lift, then reached level seven, where I sat in the waiting room, hands trembling. To distract myself I checked the Shield score. Wickets had tumbled, quite quickly by the looks of things, and Tasmania were eight down, with Kyle at the crease – fifty-three not out. I wanted to call Tallulah, but I didn’t. Her beautiful day shouldn’t be interrupted by tragedy. Instead, I rang Patrick, resting my head back against the wall. When he actually answered, my body jolted.
“Hey, Patrick, I’m at the hospital, Mum’s losing the baby.”
“I’m coming, I promise,” Patrick vowed, then ended the call.
While I waited, I thought through the plans we’d submitted. Patrick arrived to sit with me while we waited for Mum to get out of theatre. He didn’t say a word, instead simply reaching for my hand and squeezing it tight while Dad paced around the room. Finally, a surgeon walked out, removing a scrub cap from his head.
“I’m Catherine Fioray’s daughter,” I mentioned.
“Are you over eighteen?”
I gave a nod of my head.
“Your mother was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. We took her into surgery.”
“So, she lost the baby?”
The surgeon nodded his head calmly.
“I’m very sorry. We weren’t able to save the Fallopian tube.”
“She has endometriosis, is this why this happened?”
“Unfortunately, ectopic pregnancies are not uncommon in women of your mother’s age.”
Patrick touched his hand between my shoulder blades.
“You’ll be able to go and see her, I can take you through.”
The surgeon led Patrick and I through the heavy double doors. I’m glad that he didn’t ask who he was, I was willing to have them assume he was my brother. The surgeon showed us into Mum’s room, where she was lying in the hospital bed. Kakek never made it to the hospital. I’d never seen him like this, but it nonetheless triggered me.
“Hey, Jumilah, hi, Patrick.” Mum smiled weakly. “Come here.”
I pushed myself forward and sat down, while Patrick stayed back, behind me. I pulled the chair in close to the bed. Dad finally arrived, taking Mum’s hand. The surgeon came back to check on Mum and give us an update.
“Can I go home?”
“I’m sorry, you’ll have to stay in overnight. We just need to monitor you for post-op infection, but you should be able to go home tomorrow.”
Mum nodded her head, then turned to Dad.
“It’s alright, I’ll be alright. You take Jumilah home, just make sure that you come back to get me in the morning.”
As much as I didn’t want to leave Mum, I squeezed her hand, then followed Patrick and Dad. When we returned home, I checked the answering machine. I’m not quite sure why I did, because we barely ever use the landline. Sure enough, there were no messages. I turned to Patrick.
“Thank you for being there today. I really appreciated it, I don’t know what I would have done--.”
Patrick kissed me on the temple.
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.