After entering the stadium, Aaron, Penelope, Geoff and I veered towards our regular seats in the grandstand. The first-grade players were warming up on the side of the field, stretching and twisting. On the opposite side of the stadium, there were only a few fans in red and blue, but they were already passionately waving flags. Aaron squeezed between the rows first, following by Penelope, Geoff and myself. We sat down in the flip-up plastic seats. I placed my bag down near to my foot, set in for the afternoon. Yet, Aaron burst to his feet.
“I’m off for beer,” he announced. “Anybody want anything?”
Geoff shook his head.
“Well, darl, I’d take ice cream if you’re willing to line up,” Penelope requested.
“Of course, anything for you, babe,” Aaron replied with a smile on his face.
I, too, accepted the offer, despite the cold. Aaron returned shortly after with the ice creams, and beer for himself. I amused myself with the thought of an ice cream spider made with beer, instead of soft drink, although I was confident that such a thing was likely to exist. I just hadn’t tried it, but that didn’t make it any less real or legitimate. Distracting myself, I wrapped my tongue around the soft serve.
“Where are all the people?” Aaron demanded.
I wasn’t sure whether or not he was talking to the thin air or the crowd.
“I’d say that there are less than ten thousand here,” Aaron pointed out. “I mean, we’re playing a Queensland club, so there would be less opposition fans.”
“Fewer, darl,” Penelope corrected. “Fewer opposition fans. Less noise, fewer opposition fans, because you can actually count them.”
Aaron sat down, with a grunt.
“Well, I can’t really count them from all the way across here,” he pointed out, “but thanks, babe. You know that I struggle with those grammar things.”
“That’s alright, darl.”
Penelope placed an arm around Aaron’s shoulder and pressed a kiss to his cheek, her soft lips brushing against his rough stubble. The first-grade players charged out onto the field.
“Good job, come on, boys, let’s get this thing done,” Aaron called out as he applauded with vigour.
Geoff, Penelope and I simply clapped. A gust of wind swirled and I grimaced. Geoff retrieved a jacket and spread it out over my chest.
I grinned at him. Geoff smiled back.
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'.