In the days following his attempts at contacting the man called Dave, Giuseppe found himself recalling moments from his childhood in the Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin. They were memories triggered by what he saw around him, and the feelings that came with them were often mixed.
Deborah gazed at the words on the wall and in an instant recognized their irony. The words in themselves were loving, but their message was hateful, especially as the words were written in blood. The blood of her beloved magpies. Before she could even think about it, Deborah blacked out and collapsed on the wooden floorboards of the verandah.
“Well, I’ll see you tomorrow then,” Bianca said as she stood up and left the cafe terrace with a curt “goodbye”.
“Bye,” Giulia replied blinking her eyes to hold back the tears.
She watched her best friend walk down the street until she turned the corner at the other end of the square in the little Italian town where they both lived. Unable to enjoy the warm spring sun on her face, she looked back on the conversation that had ended only minutes ago. Why had they gotten so angry at each other, she asked herself. What had started as their weekly get-together, had turned into a quarrel over nothing, leaving both of them feeling hurt.
That same morning Deborah awoke late to the laughing call of the kookaburras in the casuarina trees on the perimeter of the front yard. She smiled, blissfully unaware of the storm that had struck about half an hour ago. The raindrops on her half-open window and the musty smell coming from outside were the only clues of the heavy downpour that had pounded the warm ground. Deborah rubbed in her eyes, stretched for a bit and then rolled on to her side to look outside. She pondered over the dream she had had just before she woke up.
“Alan, are you still there, mate?” Dave Frankston asked when it had gone silent at the other end of the line. “Alan?”
It took Ironbark a few moments to recover from hearing Dave’s full name.
“Yes, I’m here, Dave,” Ironbark replied. “It’s been a while,” he continued, “I never thought we’d be in touch again.”
“Well, we are, and I reckon you know why.”
By this time, Ironbark’s memory was going full throttle and he had cottoned on quick enough as to why Dave had contacted him after all those years.
“Yeah well, it’s funny, really, that you should phone me.”
“Oh?” Dave exclaimed.
“I was down at the National Archives the other day when you came to mind.”
“So, you found out for yourself, eh?”
“Hmm, yes, I did.”