I raised a tall, thin glass of orange juice to my lips this morning and took a sip. I was standing in the kitchen, wearing my work uniform – a pale green open-neck blouse and black slacks, and leaning back against the corner cupboard. Mum and Dad were seated in their regular positions at the kitchen table. The only person unaccounted for thus far was Nanek, and I’d been in too much of a daze to notice. Mum was eating a slice of Vegemite toast, whereas Dad’s breakfast was smeared with honey. Neither of them had to work today. From the kitchen I could see out through the window in the back door.
“She’s gone for a walk.”
“Around here?” I checked.
I nodded my head and finished my juice.
“Will you be off to work?” Mum asked.
I rinsed the glass, upending it in the dish drainer. While I knew that I ought to have eaten, I didn’t feel hungry.
“I can go out and say goodbye to Nanek before I go, if I can find her.”
“Have a good day.”
I grabbed my bag, helmet and bike and headed out the back door. Cycling around the property would be the most efficient way of tracking down Nanek. I ignored how tired it was making me already.
“Jumilah!” Nanek called out all of a sudden.
She seemed to appear from nowhere. Getting off my bike, I told Nanek that I was saying goodbye, because I was about to go to work. She offered to walk back to the house with me, before I left. It was an overcast morning, a little cool. The change from the south must have come through. Nanek asked me if I liked my job, a question that hadn’t come for the first time. I gave the same answer as before, that it was a good job for the meantime, especially since I’d left school. Nanek didn’t seem satisfied by that. Sure, she remained quiet and understanding, but I felt that there was something that she wasn’t saying, but I often think that. I promised Nanek that Mum and Dad could bring her into Sorrel at some stage. With a laugh, I said that there wasn’t much to see there. We returned to the house, and I figured that I would slip down the slide to get to work. That way, I wouldn’t have to take my bike through the house. Nanek and I said goodbye, then I cycled away to get on with my day.
I greeted Mum, Dad and Nanek out the front of Woolworths, at the end of the day, following through on the promise to show her where I work, as unexciting as it might have been.
“Well, this is it,” I remarked.
We entered the supermarket, at Nanek’s request, although I felt a little sheepish. It might not have been anything special to me. Yet, I feel treasured that Nanek cares about seeing where I work, even if that does just happen to be the local supermarket. I pointed out the checkouts, and led them through the aisles, showing Mum, Dad and Nanek where the discrete back door leads to the staffroom. As if on cue, the door opened, and Sloane and Patrick ambled out in their uniforms.
“Hello,” he greeted, sounding a little alarmed.
“Patrick, this is my family.”
Wearing a big grin, he stepped forward and firmly shook Dad’s hand.
“Mum, Dad, and Nanek, my grandmother,” I introduced them. “This is Patrick, one of my colleagues, and Sloane, one of my other colleagues.”
“Lovely to meet you,” she remarked, then scurried away towards the checkouts. I found myself watching her until she was out of sight, a little alarmed, the moment tarnished.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“I’ve just been showing Mum, Dad and Nanek around, so that she could see where I work.”
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.