Sarnda burst into her Mum's room. Mum was reading a lettter and two more were lying on her knee. Victor had already grabbed one and put it straight into his mouth.
Saranda, twisting the lock of her brown hair painfully, asked: " How is Granny, is she all right and the others?"
Suddenly she fetl guilty that she hadn't thought about her Granny for so long.
" What?" Asked Mum, looking up with delight, a far-away look on her face. " Oh, yes, there is a letter for you and Dardon. She took gently the letter from the Victor's mouth. " There is God's will in everything."
Saranda fingered the envelope happily. The stamp was dated only one month ago. She walked out of the Mum's room. In the privacy of the empty living quarters she tore open the flap.
Dear Dardon and Saranda,
We'l hope you are happy. Although you are so far away from us, we still talk about you. What's it like to swim in the ocean and sunbath in the hot sand? It must be fantastic! Don't forget to bring us some shells, you know, a big one so we can hear the ocean in it. Granny's told us that the war will sooon be over and you are coming home..and we will go home too. She is looking after us now because Mum has gone to find our Father and Uncles. No one knows where they are. We live in a Macedonian village, in an old house, which we have to share with a lot of people. There are plenty of kids to play with but not much space. Some of them you know from school. There is no school here so we have nothing to do. We are not allowed to leave the house, because there are plenty of Macedonians who don't like us. She still watches us and locks the doors and windows when it is dark. She prays a lot and repeats: " God has no mercy on one who has no mercy for others." What means 'mercy', Saranda? We bet you know, you knew everything at school.
Nothing has happened yet, only some foreign soldiers passsed to go and help us fight in Kosovo. Outside it's freezing cold and muddy and Granny gets really mad when we get dirty, as we have no spare clothes. So we usually sit on the log and at the boarder to Kosovo or talk about food.
When we complain that we are hungry or too cold, Granny only repeats: " God does not judge according to your bodies and appearances but He scans your hearts and looks into your deeds." But we think, God is not here with us, is he? Otherwise if he is so kind, he would bring us something to eat.
We don't know if you will get this letter. We haven't got any message from you but someone told Granny that it was on TV that you were all right. We don't know how long we stay here, Granny's told us that we have to move somewhere else soon. Hope it will be warmer there and more food. Maybe we'll go to Albania.
Love from all your cousins. Petrushka is writing.
Saranda stared at the letter for a long time. THen she replaced it in it's envelope, smoothed it thoughtfully and put it carefully away in her shelf next to the picture of Granny and her Australian Welcome Teddy Bear.
She took the pen and tore one spare page from her schoolbook. As soon as she wrote first word on the paper her thoughts an dfeeling of last year rushed out to fill the whole page: Dear cousins, we miss you so much. Although I am not sure if this letter can catch you in Macedonia, I want you to know that we haven't forgotten you and home. We wish you and Granny were here...we are not allowed to go out but I see ocean from my window and I have new brother and...
Dardon entered the living quarters quietly and watched her writing for a minute. He took the letter from her shelf and kept reading it, over and over for some time. When she finished writing, he handed her a picture of a colourful shell without any words.