Story postcard – celebrations (3)

“Oh Simi, wait. There’s Jambee. Jambee!”

Simi turns to see Marybelle signalling at Jambee, who is walking towards them with the slow, almost sideways walk of a shy animal.

She could be parking an aeroplane with all those arm movements going on. Seems to be working though.

 “Oh you look so smart in that jacket and tie. Almost didn’t recognise you.” Marybelle’s voice skips around Jambee, as she hooks her arm through his and steers him towards Simi. “Doesn’t he look handsome? Oh … Jambee, where’s Caralee?”

Jambee, blushing, smiles at his shoes, then looks over towards the trees.

“Doing photos. Over there.”

“Caralee?” Simi asks.

“One of the bridesmaids,” says Marybelle. “The one with the dark curly hair.”

Simi studies the young women posing for the cameraman. There are three of them, each in long, peach satin dresses, and each laughing, free as the wind.

“There she is,” says Jambee, pointing towards the group. “She’s talking to Jen.”

“With the long hair?”

“Ja,” says Jambee. “It’s sort of wavy.”

“She’s beautiful,” Simi says.

“Ja,” Jambee nods, his eyes never leaving the girls.

 “Your wedding next, Jambee?” Marybelle asks, winking at Simi.

 “No way,” says Jambee, unhooking his arm from Marybelle’s, and bending down to tie his shoe. “I don’t have a girlfriend.”

“Not Caralee?”

“As if? I don’t even know if she likes me,” Jambee mumbles to the grass, as he fiddles with his laces.

“I think she does,” says Marybelle, looking over the top of his head towards the girls. “I’ve seen how she smiles at you.”

Jambee stands up and pulls at the tie around his neck. “Hope I can take this off soon. I think I might go up to the lodge now.”

Simi smiles at him. “Do you like Caralee Jambee?”

“Well, sort of, but so does everyone,” says Jambee, eyes focused on his jacket sleeves as he tries to tug out the tight creases around his elbows.

 “You’ve got to be bold then Jambee. Go and show her.”

“Show her?”

“Yes. That you like her.”

“How?” asks Jambee, eyes flying up to Simi’s face then back down to his sleeves.

“Oh, I don’t know. Get her a drink. Be kind. Make her laugh.”

Jambee, looks up again. “Maybe. One day,” he says quietly, letting go of his sleeve. He digs the toe of his shoe into the grass, then twists a lump free and kicks it down the slope.

“Be bold Jambee. Faint heart never won fair maiden,” Marybelle says.

 “Ha ha. That’s old stuff …”

“Still true though.”

“Jambee! Jambee!” Voices call up from under the trees. “We need you for a photo.”

“Okay. Coming,” Jambee shouts back. He nods briefly at Simi and Marybelle and then begins to lope down the hill.

 “Jambee?” Marybelle calls after him. “Good luck!”

He turns around to face them, both arms raised above his head.

That boy, thinks Simi as she watches him, so stong, but so unsure. Like he’s half waving, and half man-on-a-cross.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023


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