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Wildcard

While today was sunny day, my arms had been tinged pink from the university activities the day before. Dad had decided to go to a midday swim, but I opted to stay indoors and rearrange my makeup drawer. I seldom wore makeup, but like everything else in my room, it was messy. I chose to compound the problem by tugging out the drawer and dumping its contents out onto my bed. The sunscreen was a little late to find. Mitchell would have ensured I’d worn it. Sure, I could get caught up in semantics, that he wouldn’t have been at uni with me. A smile finally came onto my lips. Finding my hair accessories from primary school gave me a brief moment of joy, even though it was caught up within memories, good and bad.


“Are you going alright?” Dad checked.


“Yeah,” I confirmed, with a genuine smile. “There’s a lot of this stuff which I can just get rid of, really.”


That had been separated into its own pile. Later in the afternoon, Greg, Natalie and Geoff arrived from the cricket field, where he had been playing a home match for Winston Hills.


“Leo and Greta, do you mind if I have a quick shower and get changed?” Geoff requested.


“Yes, of course,” Mum permitted, stepping out of the kitchen. “You can go into our ensuite if you like, and then you can just get changed in our bedroom.”


“Thanks, Greta.” Geoff opened the door and disappeared into the bedroom.


“Are you going to come and watch Geoff play cricket at all this summer?” Natalie asked me.


“We’re not together,” I reminded, “but I might. It would be nice to see some of Mitchell’s friends again, who are in the cricket team.”


“Fair enough,” Natalie answered quietly.


She ambled down from the kitchen and placed glasses on the kitchen table.


“Oh.” Natalie glanced up. “Did you hear that Tom is coming back from Iceland?”


“No, I didn’t.”


“He’ll be back by Christmas. His parents are looking forward to it.”


“Is he back permanently?”


“Yeah, I believe so.”


I shared a drink, before Lizzie collected me.


“Oh, there’s something I’d like to ask. I’d like to come with you to Canberra tomorrow, not to go to the wedding, but there’s a guy that I’ve been chatting with on Hinge, in Bungendore, and I would love to meet up with him in person, and going with you, I think that it would be a good opportunity, if that’s cool.”


I threw my head back with laughter.


“Oh, you’re serious, aren’t you?”


I slapped my thigh then clapped my hands.


“That’s great.”


We arrived at the right street, my body still possessing a tremble. Lizzie parked out the front of a house with solar panels on the roof. I resisted the temptation to touch my eyes. We emerged from the car, making sure that we had the presents with us. Lizzie had always been a wildcard of a cousin, and I loved her for that. Dinah was the one who opened the door to let us into her engagement party, immediately giving me a hug while still on the doorstep.


“Thank you so much for coming,” she gushed. “It’s so great to see you again, Nina.”


That was something that I cherished about Dinah. She believed what she was saying even though it had only been a day. When she eventually pulled back, I caught sight of her engagement ring as it glistened in the summer sun, setting but not in a hurry.


“Thanks for having me.”


“It’s our absolute pleasure.”


We moved through into the loungeroom, where a sign read ‘Two become one’ in cursive.


 

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'.


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