And the wind whispered - Episode 20

Written by Wim Beunderman, posted on thursday 5 april 2018

Gum Tree by David Simmonds

Click here to read this story from the beginning!

Episode 20

Looking through the scribbly gum branches up into the sky, Dave Frankston felt calm again. Calm, if anything, was something he could really do with, as his discovery of the truth behind Alan ‘Ironbark’ MacGregor’s daughter’s adoption was giving him sleepless nights. Up until last night, that was. Last night, sleep had finally found him. It had done him a world of good, especially as today was Saturday, his day off. He had woken up early alright but had the luxury of staying in bed for half an hour extra with the curtains open, so he could watch the little white clouds drift slowly across the dark blue sky.

Now the sky still had that beautiful deep blue colour that was always a sign that it was going to be a sunny day. Dave sighed with contentment. He loved his early morning walks in the bushland of the Mount Majura Nature Reserve just outside the Canberra suburb of Hackett where he lived. It was said that the Aborigines who originally lived here, referred to this area as a ‘men’s place’. Dave could relate to this. He felt at home here. This place instilled him with a sense of wisdom, and here it never took him long to shake off his worries.

A glossy black cockatoo came flying in only metres away and landed in a nearby casuarina. The screeching sound it made to announce its arrival to its fellow cockatoos interrupted Dave’s thoughts. He saw the analogy between the cockatoo’s raucous vocalization and the way in which the information about Ironbark’s daughter had come to him. He had been staring out the window at work one day, when his colleague Alison had come running into his office in a state of excitement. ‘We’ve tracked down some more abduction cases from the 70s,’ she half shouted, depositing a large manila folder on his desk. The folder burst open causing several black and white photos of young Aboriginal children to sprawl out over Dave’s desk.

As fate would have it, the first photo that caught his eye, was one that he recognized from a photo frame that stood on a side table at the MacGregors’ place. Looking back on that moment sent his heart racing like it had done then. That moment when his mouth fell open in astonishment and his mind instantaneously made the link. ‘For the love of God,’ had been his response. At the time, he had felt a strange combination of joy and sadness. Soon afterwards, he had made it his duty to get in touch with the MacGregors to tell them about their daughter’s history.

He had lost touch with the MacGregors when their adoptive daughter was in her early twenties, and it was not until he looked up Alan MacGregor on the internet that he learned that the MacGregors had moved to Canberra years ago and that Estelle MacGregor had passed away not long afterwards. He then felt guilty for what his former Social Services colleagues had done. Sure enough, he had not been involved in the abductions, yet he had heard about it and had chosen to look the other way. And, although he was happy that he had gotten hold of Alan, he could not help feeling sorry for not taking action earlier, especially before Alan had beaten him to the information.

“Ah well,” he muttered as he looked up at the sky again. A faint smile appeared and caught a stray tear that had trickled into the corner of his mouth. “Yesterday can’t be changed, but tomorrow can.” With those words he looked forward to arranging the reunion of Alan’s adoptive daughter with her biological mother. That meant that he would have to take the hardest step of all. A hint of fear emerged and caused a queasy feeling in the pit of his stomach, as he started rehearsing to himself how he was going to break the news to the daughter: Your mother wasn’t your real mother but was so all the same. Still, your biological mother is longing to be reunited with you, Debbie.

Click here to read Episode 21!


‘Gum Tree’ by David Simmonds on

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Archived in the category: transformation, love, short stories, storytelling

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