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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 2, June 2017

Marietta Jane McGregor
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

The Bridesmaid's Story

Forty years it's been. The big question: will we know each other when we meet? It was spur-of-the-moment, the idea for this catch-up. Now I ask myself, after all this time of no contact, why not let go of the past? I remember your wedding, with me as your self-conscious bridesmaid. I moved to another city, we both had children, you went on to become eminent in your scientific field; I left my field for good. One of our friends is dead, gone too soon.

So here we are. I think we'll remember good times and places: long days of crabbing on the Port Gawler mangrove flats, our tired convoy driving home to Adelaide, blue swimmer crabs cooked with handfuls of wild dill in a big metal boiler. Then lots of talk and laughter, flagons of Barossa riesling, bread and butter, and the glorious messiness of cracking crab legs. Your parents' farm, the shallow pan of clotted cream set out on the AGA cooker, ready for your mother to churn the richest butter we ever tasted. The little holiday shack on the beach, where you nursed a baby hairy-nosed wombat that lost its mother to a speeding truck.

The moment you step through the café door, I know you. You look older. I'm sure I do too. We don't reminisce about crabbing . . . or butter or wombats or weddings. Our conversation over lunch is desultory, trite. I don't remember what I eat. We say goodbye, promising we'll keep in touch.

in my bureau drawer
a cameo brooch
gifted for my walk-on role
in your missing story



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