Three Wishes Page 108

Now Gemma gave up trying to think of anything else that Sal could possibly need and carried the overnight bag out beside the front door.

’’We need to leave here in twenty minutes if we\ e going to make it,’’ called Charlie from the bedroom, where he was dressing Sal. ’’Did you hear me? Twenty minutes.’’

He sounded slightly irritable.

In a funny way, Gemma quite liked it when he was annoyed with her. He didn\ become someone else. He didn\ frighten her. He didn\ make her feel ashamed.

He just got in a bad mood every now and then. Like people did.

Sometimes, she still felt the beginning of that icy breeze whistling around her bones, but now she had a cure. She simply thought back to the night when Sal was born and she was in the ambulance listening to Charlie\s voice on the mobile telling her how a lightbulb worked. ’’There\s a thin little piece of wire and it resists the flow of electricity. That\s why the filament glows...Everything has to flow back to earth, you see...Look, Gemma, you\ e not planning on rewiring or something like that, are you?’’

It was like remembering the words to a beautiful poem. ’’...It resists the flow of electricity...That\s why it glows...’’

She put her head around the door. Sal was chortling up at his father, his legs windmilling wildly while Charlie attempted to hold him still to dress him.

’’I love you,’’ she said.

Charlie said crossly, ’’I should think so.’’

Frank and Maxine were married for the second time in the little white gazebo on the grassy area opposite Balmoral Beach. Picnicking families and hand-in-hand couples all watched the event with interest from behind their sunglasses.

Maddie was flower girl and was so entranced by her own prettiness that she managed to be good for the entire ceremony, swaying the silky skirt of her dress. Kara brought along a tall, skinny boy, who actually looked a lot like her father but fortunately nobody was foolish enough to mention it. Nana Kettle wore hot pink and spoke at length about her charming new neighbor, George. George\s wife, Pam, was very ill. Nana hoped Pam wouldn\ be in pain for too much longer.

Before they went off to dinner, the photographer that Lyn had organized took some spectacular shots of the family with the sun setting behind them.

But the best one, the one they got framed and blown up afterward, was one that he took without their even noticing.

It\s when they were all walking toward the restaurant. Nana Kettle has stopped to give a demonstration of her newly acquired tai chi skills and is squatting slightly at the knees, her hands curled in the air. Cat, Gemma, and Lyn are all doing their own untrained, unbalanced versions of tai chi moves, and Gemma is in the process of toppling over toward her sisters. Charlie and Michael are walking behind them, their heads thrown back, laughing. Maddie has stopped to admire her new shoes. Kara and her new boyfriend are also looking at their shoes and secretly holding hands.

Frank and Maxine are holding hands too. Frank is striding ahead, looking at his watch. Maxine has turned back to watch her daughters. One hand is shading her eyes. She\s smiling.


But wait, I\m not finished!

Listen to this! About six months later, I go and meet Cheryl from school one Saturday afternoon. She\s all la-di-da at Mosman now, so we go down to Balmoral Beach for coffee. Anyway, we were watching this wedding party come back from having their photos taken. These two old people had got married, which was sort of cute.

All of a sudden, this girl in the party calls out to me, Olivia! And it\s them! The weird triplets from the restaurant! I was like, oh my God, I don\ believe it! I was really flattered that they remembered my name!

So the three of them come over for a chat and turns out it was their parents getting married, for the second time! Seems like the whole family is pretty wacko tobacco.

The one who\d been pregnant was all skinny again and I\m freaking out, thinking, Oh no, what if the baby died from the fork? I didn\ like to ask. But then she said she\d had a little boy and he was fine and showed me photos. So that was a relief. I hate trying to work out what to say with, you know, tragedies and that sort of stuff.

The one who threw the fork, she seemed different. I couldn\ tell why. I think maybe she got her hair cut.

They asked me if I recognized the photographer and I said, hey, he was there that night at the table next to you, wasn\ he? And they said, Yeah. Then the fork-thrower, she goes to me, Do you think he\s cute? When she said that, her sisters just went off! They\ e going, Oooh, she likes him, she likes him! You know, even though they\ e in their thirties, they still act really young and normal. Cheryl could not believe it when I told her how old they were! I\m going to be like that when I get old.

Anyway, the fork-thrower gives me a wink and says, I\m going to ask him on a date, what do you think? I said, I think you should. I thought her sisters were going to have heart attacks they were so excited.

So she went off to talk to the photographer.

By the look on his face, I reckon he said yes, for sure.

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