Wednesday, May 19, 2010



    Saranda peeping out the widnow and touching her golden chain whispered to the darkness: " If I were a golden ray of ligth I could see you Granny up in the sky..."
Then she turned to Mum lyaing the table in the dining room: " I wonder what she is doing there?"

    " Poor Mrs Hysa is trying to prepare tradtional feast, you know, she is so bighearted for allowing us to stay
for so long in her hours..." her Mum muttered assuming that she asked about their hostess: " Where is Dardon
so long, he went to find Dad and ...?" she peeped into the coridor, where Joyce was pushing Victor in his pram.

    " Our Dad is no the verandah like always talking about Islam and doing nothing..."

    " Saranda, watch your mouth, who are you to be making judgment on your Father?" Mum eyed her sternly:
" It is so hard to find a proper work here."

Saranda opened her mouth as though to answer back, suddenly shut it again to smell the fresh baked cake from the kitchen opposite.

    Mrs Hysa peeped into the dining room: " Come on, girls, our guests will be here in a minute." She put more plates on the traditionally set table, where Mum was standing lost in thoughts: " I know you feel you can't cope, but it's not going to get easier if you don't start to learn English, your husband speaks pretty well..."

     " You know what my husband thinks now: " Muslims have religion always uppermost in their minds."

    " God help me, but sometimes I am relieved that my husband is in heaven," Mrs Hysa shook her head: " You can still help me in my cleaning business, you know extra hands are always needed, but..."

    " You helped me a lot already," Mum touched Mrs. Hysa arm: " My husband has been offered a teaching position at the Islamic College so we are going to look for a house to rent somewhere close by..."

    " So therefore he is so absorbed in our religion, now, hm.." Mrs Hysa laid the bowls full of nibbles on the table: " It's good for me and Joyce to have your company, we miss you, you know?"

Mum smiled and nodded sadly.

     " But still, you should go out know visit the Play Group near us with little Victor, he needs to play with other kids and you need friends too..." Mrs Hysa refused to give on the matter, but Mum shook her head and wiped the sweat from her neck.

     " Oh, I can not stand this hot weather," she changed the subject quickly: " Saranda do you remember the freezing, snowy winter in Kosovo?"

    " What is the point of being cold?" Saranda interrupted her and turned back to the window. It was pitch black outside.

Joyce came to sit next to her. The car's headlights shone on their driveway like two small stars. " The first visitor is coming! " She jumped from the sofa.

    " It's good to be here. Oh, and that smell from the kitchen, what it is...a national surprise?" Their Australian neighbours and friends came in holding the esky full of beer and beef sausages fro a barbie. Then others kept coming, the Kosovo's migrants holding plates full of meat dishes and their kids...a lot of new people Saranda could not recognise. Among them she noticed some Islamic teachers in headscarves and long sleeve dresses from her new College.

     " Boy, I am sick of so much food..." The pale Serbian boy with big curious blue eyes grinned across the table. Saranda smile back.

    " Don't at him, he is our enemy, you remember back home...Serbs..." Dardon's usually dark face was pale with anger.

    " What's the matter with you?" Lisa approached them. " I want to meet you Ilja Iljovic, the son of friends of mine. He could not wait to meet you Dardon and he has something for you."

Dardon's face was expressionless, when the boy handed him a model of a sport car. Saranda just sat around watching and listening. People mingled and talked to each other in three different languages but no one seems to mind. She could hear Arabic from the teachers' corner, where her Dad passionately discussed his new knowledge of religion. Dad has changed so much from their Kosovo years that she barely recognized him anymore. She had no chance to sneak out and return money to Jack. Now she attended the Islamic College instead of that awful High School. But she felt alienated even more, unable to speak Arabic and forced to wear a scarf at school?

Saranda went outside where the night breeze was mixing with the smell of grilled beef and lamb. Suddenly she thought about her Granny again and her special dish, she used to prepare for them on special family occasions. Maybe Dad was right, maybe it's the best way to remember Granny by following her Islamic traditions. She always wanted them to believe, but not this way...Granny's religion was different.

     " Come on sweetheart, you have to try the real Aussie barbie,"  Dardon's swimming instructor with the unshaved sunburnt face winked at her as he handed her a plate.

She nodded gratefully and took it when suddenly Mum was standing next to her, holding the screaming Victor in her arm: " I can't make the special Granny's desert, it looks so different, what a shame, she would not be pleased with me..."

     " Come on, Mum, Granny would not care...sorry, my Mum can't speak English," Saranda turned back to George, who was standing there not understanding a word.

He took Victor on his strong arm,  who stopped crying and look at him with big, scarred eyes: " It's all right." George smiled and Saranda was not sure if he talks to Victor or to her.

    " She worries all the time, my Mum," Saranda said in a matter of explanation.

    " Tell her to take it easy, she in Australia and you know what, " George's eyes suddenly twinkled:
" Tell her to come over next weekend to my place, she needs to get out of this house..."

     " Thanks George, but Dad will come along as well, he will not let her to go by herself, you know ..."

George waved his hand and laughed: " Fine, Saranda bring them all along..."

While Saranda turned back to Mum and translated what George said the window opened above their heads and Dardon's voice broke through the chatter: " Saranda, Ilja taught me new Aussie words: ' Do you wanna play footy, mate?'.."

Saranda laughed and everyone started to giggle, even Victor cheered up and started to pull George's nose. Only her Mum stood there confused and lost in her thoughts. Saranda knew she is back in her freezing and cold Kosovo at least in her head.

Saranda shrugged her shoulders and put the juicy hot meat in her mouth. It tasted delicious. Then she grimaced at her brother: " Sure, mate."
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