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Waves

I felt warm and snuggled when I woke up this morning, the room bathed in golden light. We’d need to get out of bed eventually, but for the moment I was just fine, safe with a doona on top of me. Mum got out of bed and made cups of tea, with the complimentary tea bags.


“Thank you.”


I propped myself up against the pillows. Mum handed over a cup of tea to me.


“This looks lovely.”


“Well, I don’t know if we’ll have time for breakfast, unless we have it at the airport.”


“Airport breakfast is fantastic.”


Mum cocked an eyebrow.


“In small quantities.”


“We haven’t exactly been flying in small quantities lately.”


I took a tentative sip of my tea, mindful that it might have still been too hot.


“But this one should be the last.”


“That’s right.”


I glanced towards the windows.


“We have a little bit of time this morning, what would you like to do?”


“Would we have enough time to go to the beach?”


Mum flicked her eyes towards the bedside clock and took a sip from her tea.


“I think that we would.”


“Right, well, you drink your tea, I’ll finish mine and have a quick shower.”


Mum started drinking her tea much more quickly. I’m in awe of her stamina, which I must admit that I don’t share.


“And then we can head to the beach to spend the morning, maybe get something to eat, and then turn around to go to the airport to fly home. Sound good?”


I nodded my head and smiled, determined to have a good day.


“Absolutely,” I agreed.


“Good.”


Mum took her clothes with her and headed off to the bathroom.


I remained in bed, drinking my tea. Eyes darting across, followed by my hand, I reached for my phone atop the bedside chest of drawers, to check for a message. There was a little bit of chatter in the work group, but just the usual rostering stuff. Letting out a soft sigh, I knew that there was no need to respond. When we get back to Hobart, I will go back to work, and so will Mum. Normal life will rear its head. The planning for opening a zoo, or a sanctuary, whatever we want to call it, will only just be beginning.


“Are you going to have a shower too?” Mum wanted to know, once she eventually emerged from the bathroom.


“No, I’ll have one when we get home.”


“Alright, are you almost finished your tea?”


I looked down into the cup.


“Not quite.”


I slurped it down. It had gone cold. I must have been daydreaming, or lost in my brain, for longer than I’d realised, because I remembered the water running, and turning on and off, but not much else.


“All done now.” I smiled at Mum.


She reached out a hand to accept the cup, so that she could rinse it out. I fetched clothes from my bag, fresh to get changed into for the day. Stripping off my pyjamas, I swapped over into the new clothes, then shoved the pyjamas into my bag.


“Are we going to come back here after the beach?” I checked.


Mum glanced towards her watch.


“Briefly we can, so leave your bag here if you want.”


I nodded. Ensuring we had the key, we left the room.


“You said yesterday that you’re seriously considering the animal thing.”


“Jumilah, I would love to care for animals.”


I sensed a ‘but’ coming.


“You know that. I don’t know how it’s going to work out, but we’ll do our best.”


Reaching the bottom of the stairs, we passed out through the doorway into the street.


“If Ibu’s animals could be cared for with us, that would be wonderful. Somehow, if they could be returned to her, that would be even more wonderful.”


“Do you think that that’s ever likely to happen?” I wanted to know.


“It all depends on how it goes with the investigation, I suppose,” Mum mused. “We need to make sure that Ibu will be safe, that the animals will be safe.”


I started to be able to smell the salt, which made me feel calmer.


“But the other thing is whether the zoos would relinquish them, once they’re in Australia. The time is ticking to work things out before they’re moved.”


Mum and I turned the corner. Pine trees towered over the grass, on the other side of the road.


“So, to answer your question, I don’t think they will return.”


“I’m sorry, Mum, I’m so, so sorry.”


She shrugged her shoulders, like she was untouchable, but I could tell that it stung.


“Thank you, Jumilah. It’s just one thing, it’s not even the main thing.”


“I know.”


“As long as the animals are alive and thriving and breeding, that’s resistance. That’s something, and that’s what Bapak would have wanted for them.”


At the zebra crossing, we passed over.


“And we can follow in his footsteps, in our own way.”


Mum finally grinned.


“That we can.”


We strode down the stairs, then took off our shoes to stride along the beach.


“I gather that there are two sides of it,” she mused. “There’s the animal side and there’s the business side.”


“So what side do we need to start with first?” I wanted to know.


“Well, that’s the tricky part. The animal side is theoretically the more difficult part.”


“Sam said that we’d need to apply for a licence.”


As we approached the edge of the water, foam lapped over our bare feet. Luckily I was wearing shorts, above the knee.


“Yes, but we’ll have to comply with whatever are the specific requirements in Tasmania. Have you looked into it?”


“Not much, I will admit.”


“I started, last night, after you went to sleep.”


My eyes lit up, because I didn’t know that. Mum had come to Australia to study, but never returned to live in Indonesia full-time.


“I really don’t want to get any of our hopes up is this isn’t going to be possible. I’m really wanting this to work.”


“So what do we have to do?”


As a wave rushed up the sand, Mum pulled up her skirt further so that it wouldn’t get wet.


“Well, from a business perspective, we need to work out what our land is zoned as, as to whether we would be able to build enclosures on that land.”


That seems a long way from holding animals, but I need to learn patience.


“I wouldn’t have thought that having farm animals would be that different.”


“It is, unfortunately,” Mum explained. “Your dad is going to figure out what it is at the moment, to see if we need to apply to change it, because that would have to happen first.”


Mum and I reached the next staircase which led from the sand.


“Do you feel like an ice cream?”


I beamed.


“That would be lovely.”


We climbed the stairs, feet damp and sandy. I glanced around.


“It seems like a lot of hassle before you’ve even figured out anything to do with building exhibits, getting a licence, working out which actual animals we’d be able to obtain.”


“I know, it does, but each part of the process is its own step.”


There were plenty of people not wearing their shoes, so I decided not to worry. Checking both ways, we crossed the road, as there was an ice cream shop on the corner.


“What would you like?”


“Oh, what have they got?”


We stepped into the shop, a wide range of flavours behind glass.


“Hello, how can I help you?” the young attendant behind the counter asked.


“We’ll have two cones,” Mum requested. “One with one scoop of chocolate and one scoop of rum and raisin and--.”


“I’ll have chocolate and mint choc chip, thanks.”


The ice cream shop worker nodded her head and started preparing the cones.


“My treat,” Mum insisted, paying for them before they were handed over to us with a smile.

“Thank you.”




After the ice creams, and returning to our accommodation, we headed back to the airport on the train.


“I think that we can check in on the screens,” Mum noted, and we did just that, before heading to the gate so that we could board the plane.


The two of us figured that we may as well just get on, rather than wait. We strode down a ramp, a sky-bridge, apparently they’re called, from which we were able to step straight onto the plane. Smiling, Mum and I showed our boarding passes to the flight attendants. They directed us towards our seats, which was kind of them, even though we could have figured it out for ourselves. We walked down the aisle of the plane. Finding our seats, we inched between the rows and sat down, stowing our bags underneath the seats in front. Mum checked her phone one last time before putting it on flight mode.


“Our property doesn’t have the right zoning to house animals for a sanctuary or a zoo,” she told me. “That’s what your father reckons.”


“So have we got to change that with the council?”


“Yeah,” Mum confirmed. “We’ll have to organise a meeting to apply for that.”


I nodded, fastening my seatbelt and trying to settle into my chair. This wouldn’t be a long flight, just Sydney to Hobart. There’s a time at the end of every trip when you’re ready to be home. The safety demonstration started. I tried to hit that wall, without running into it full pelt. All I needed to do was look out the window. The plane would take Mum and I home. Finally, I was able to breathe and rest.



Once we’d landed in Hobart, Dad picked Mum and I up from the airport, to drive us home. He and Luke, my cousin, had sorted out collecting the car, which Mum, Nanek and I had left at the airport when we’d departed Tasmania last week. He gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek, then we got in the car and drove home. No matter how tired I might have felt, and missing Nanek, I am glad to be back home.


“So, tell me all about it.”


“Well, I went to Taronga Zoo twice.”


“Right,” Dad replied, flicking on his blinker.


He drove away from the airport, away from the city, towards home.


“It was wonderful. Sam was very helpful.”


“He’s the Taronga Zoo man, isn’t he?”


“Yes.”


“So Reuben Hendricks all over again?”


“No, he’s not,” Mum insisted. “He’s much older, he’d be around our age, do you reckon, Jumilah?”


“I don’t really know,” I admitted.


It wasn’t long before we arrived home, Dad parking in the driveway out the front of the house. Getting out of the car, I followed after him as he unlocked the front door. We stepped back inside the house. Everything was just as it had been before. Dad flicked on the lights as he went, so that we could see where we were going.


“Oh, Reuben called, just before,” he mentioned.


This puzzled me, because he knew that Mum and I had gone overseas. He has Mum’s mobile phone number, and she has Facebook like every other middle-aged person of her generation. I would gather that Reuben does too, not that we’re friends, and not that I’ve ever looked him up.


“Alright, I’ll call him back tomorrow.”




After I’d had a shower and gotten changed into my pyjamas, I went out to say goodnight to Mum and Dad, when she was on the phone, talking with Nanek. I lingered in the loungeroom. While I wanted to go to bed, I knew that I would have trouble sleeping. When Mum finally got off the phone, she pivoted so that she would be facing towards me.


“All good?”


“Yeah.”


I nodded.


“We’ve organised a meeting with the council, had Adriano mentioned that to you yet?”


I shook my head.


“I’ll come if I can, I’ve got work.”


“It’s at 4:45.”


“I finish at 4:30.”


“Perfect.”


 

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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