THE CALL TO PRAYER /February 2000/
The waves washed in and out, people slopped and slapped on the shore. The air smelt of salt and fish. Saranda could feel the sea breeze tickling her wet skin. She laid down onthe hot sand to warm up. Dardon was running towards her, carefully not to spill the water scooped in his hand. With a cunning smile he bent down and...
"Ouch," the cold drips caught the light as they dribbled on Saranda's T-shirt. She set up and grimaced angrily: " You idiot..."
Dardon quickly stood up with a laugh. " Do't be a chicken, it's only.." he stopped and waved to the approaching boys from his ESL Primary School.
" Hey, Dardon, come and have a dip with us," they called and jumped in: " If you not scared ..."
Dardon stared at them for a while. " Me scared?" with a big scream he jumped in next to them.
" Dardon, please come back, you can't swim!" Saranda was running against the waves which were now higher, washing over the swimming boys more often. She could hardly find Dardon in big whirls of bubbling water.
" Heelp!" Dardon was trying to stay on the surface hitting the water hard with his fists, but another big wave came and swamped him.
Oh, here you are. She was trying to get close to Dardon when his fist hit her on the forehead. The water grabbed her like a paper doll, whirling her out deep. She wanted to scream. The water filled her mouth, her eyes and her lungs.
" Saranda, are you OK?" She could hear Dardon's voice full of anxiety.
" She will be all right, only needs to get over this watery vomiting, that's what I reckon." A man with a cheerful face, in a lifesaving jacket was holding her. He was watching Saranda so closely that she could feel his unshaved face on her cheek. She breathed deeply with exhaustion and fell down again.
" You need to learn to swim properly." The man was talking to someone. Saranda turned her head curiously to the left.
Dardon's face was full of guilt: " I swam once in...in how to say in English ...small creek, back in Kosovo." He wiped his nose on his sleeve.
The lifesaver burst out laughing and looking straight at Dardon he added: " Young fellow, this is the ocean, you should ask your mum to enrol you in the swimming lessons."
" What do you reckon, sweetheart?" he bent over Saranda, who still felt too weak and sick to sit up. " I have a boy about your age, he left home ...I don't know where he is...what he is up to." The lifesaver whispered and suddenly his kind face was full of sadness.
Saranda did not know what to say. Finally she burst out: " Thanks for saving us."
" No worries, it is my job, I mean weekend job anyway, we have a young ' Lifesaving Club' here."
He put his arm around Dardon's shoulders: " You can join in, I mean once you learn to swim, we are looking for boys your age, you know what, bring your parents here tomorow to see the practice."
Dardon helped Saranda to stand up and the lifesaver turned to leave: " So tomorow guys, just ask for George."