That evening as she sat on the sofa eating scampi and chips, Deborah looked back on her first day in Rye. After running through the surf with Dougie, who now lay sound asleep on the cushion next to her, she had strolled along the beach for a while. There she came across a surfer who complimented her on her good looks. Even now it made her blush. How old was he, she wondered. Judging by the hints of grey in his dark hair that was beginning to thin out, she reckoned he must have been in his late forties, just like she was.
Ironbark sighed deeply as he left the National Archives building in Canberra and walked to the car park. He loosened the collar of his chequered flannel shirt and wiped the sweat from his neck and throat. It was not so much the abnormal heat for this time of year that was troubling him as the information he had just read in the records.
The gentle rays of a wintry sun reached into the bedroom and caressed Giuseppe’s face. Giuseppe slowly opened his eyes and realized where he was.
“Argh,” he groaned, tired from a long and sleepless night.
It felt as if he had fallen asleep only five minutes ago after tossing and turning for seven hours on end. He rubbed his eyes that were dry and swollen from the tears he had cried. Yesterday evening’s text message had really sunk in, stirring up emotions that he had thought to be a thing of the past.
An hour later found Deborah driving along the Nepean Highway in her purple 1976 Ford Falcon, headed for the family beach house near Rye on the Mornington Peninsula. Since last night’s dream, her mind was absolute chaos and she needed some time alone to get things straightened out.
Giuseppe Conatelli looked away from the playing field where his soccer team Empoli FC was playing a home game against Parma, to grab his mobile phone that was vibrating in the pocket of his warm duffle coat. Who could that be, he wondered slightly annoyed. Annoyance turned into surprise when he tapped a new text message. His surprise wasn’t so much caused by the fact that the message was from an unfamiliar number with the international dialling code for Australia, but rather by the name he was addressed by. He hadn’t been called so in years.