It's still too hot, Saranda thought as she walked next to Mum and Mrs Hysa through the narrow crowded South Terrace and listening to their conversation about Islam. She was mad at Mum, who didn't allow her to leave the house without a scarf and a long sleeve shirt any more. Mum, pushing the pram with Victor, was apprehensive about meeting another Muslim women in a nearby Tea room. She pulled nervously her scarf and asked Saranda to be nice and polite when meeting the ladies.
Saranda looked at her pale face and suddenly felt sorry for her Mum. She was lost just like her. Islam was just a safety net, thrown to her by her husband, something to hold on to. Still boys have it so much easier. Saranda looked behind to see Dardon running and bumping into people.
" And what about him," she pointed at Dardon: " he wants to go to 'Time Zone."
" But, please Mum, I want Saranda to go with me, instead of Mrs Hysa," he caught up with Mum and pulled at her sleeve pleadingly.
" I thought you go with me, Dad would be pleased and Mrs Hysa is not really interested in Islam, you know..."
" Me neither," Saranda interrupted Mum: " I have already learnt a lot at College and anyway I need to go shopping first...I need some stuff for school tomorow..."
" Let's go shopping then," Mum turned and pushed the pram back to Wolwoorth store, leaving them catching up.
Inside the Shopping Centre it was cool and noisy. Mum dragged them behind Mrs Hysa caught in a shopping spree. Mrs Hysa loved bargain. As they waited patiently until she chose what she wanted, Saranda noticed some girls in shiny minidresses, who seemed familiar. These awful girls from her previous High School!
" Quick, have a go, there is the exit," she grabbed Dardon's hand and they ran out into the full car park.
" Are we going to run away?" Dardon asked excitedly as he noticed the free map of Fremantle in her hand from the shopl
" Of course not, you silly," she turned her head resolutely, " go back and tell Mum, that we meet her in the Tea room, tell her I know the way and ask for some money to Time Zone, " Saranda watched him to leave and shouted behind him: " She always gives you, what YOU want, you spoiled brat."
She took her scarf and folded up her sleeves. Suddenly she felt much better. Dardon came back and blinked but Saranda stopped him before he could ask: " If you open your mouth, it's last time I take you somewhere, you dobby, dobby," she looked at him and then back at the map: " I can't find the 'Time Zone".
Dardon lowered his head in disappointment.
" Don't worry, we'll find the way."
It was a hot day. A crowd of strangers walked nearby as they reached another and another street.
" Saranda, I am thirsty, are we lost?" Dardon sat down on a bench in front of one of the old houses with a broken white picked fence.
" Stop whinging..." Saranda clutched the map in her hand: " Wait, what's the name of this one, L-i-lly Street."
She looked around. Lilly Street was dotted with old residents of all origins leaning outside their brightly painted houses. Saranda spotted a dirty vacant land between two properties. Another home for Kathy and Jack, she suddenly thought.
An old lady was watching Dardon from her flowered tiny verandah: " Poor boy, you look thirsty, wait right here," she turned back and murmured something on her way inside. In a little while Dardon held in his hand a cold glass frull of icy water.
" Thank you," Saranda said joining Dardon on the bench, but the lady shuffled back. The tiny door banged behind her. They left the empty glass on the bench and moved on.
At the far end of the street they were stuck in the middle of traffic noise and rushing people. Among the strangers Saranda recognised a boy.
" Jaack, Jack...!" Saranda rushed after him leaving Dardon behind.
" Hey, kid," he was starring at her now and she felt stupid.
" I don't know, if you remember me, we met about a month ago and you lend me some money..and you said I could stick with you and Kathy..you know...to survive."
" Survive," Jack repeated in his absent minded voice and his blue eyes looked somehow darker: " In fact you could survive almost anything if you put your mind to it, I've tried to explain this to Kathy...anyway do you know where she is?"
" No, me and my brother, where is he?" Saranda turned aroudn in panic: " He wanted to go to 'Time Zone' and..." She searched the crowd behind her when Jack suddenly caught her arm.
" Hey, that's look like him..." he pointed at a scared boy standing on the opposite road to them. He caught their eyes and Saranda waved at him. Jack stared at them when she introduced Dardon. For a long time he was silent as he forgot the world around him.
Saranda took the note from Dardon's pocket and gave him warning look to stop his complaining: " Jack, that's yours, thanks."
" 'Quazar' is better than 'Time Zone', I haven't been there for ages," he suddenly cheered up: " Let's go, now we have some money to spend."
He left and they had to run to catch up with him.
It was fun. Jack often burst at laugh watching Dardon's play: " He is so scared, I love it!"
" Dardon, stop acting like idiot," Saranda felt ashamed for her younger brothe, who patted himself proudly on the chest after he hit Jack, but he didn't mind.
They nearly missed Mum and Mrs Hysa, who waited impatiently in front of the already closed 'Tea Room' for their return. Saranda in a hurry put beck her scarf and warned Dardon not to open his mouth. Approaching them, she saw Mrs Hysa's frightened look and she met Mum's tired eyes as she took the screaming hungry Victor from her arms. Saranda knew that Dad would be again mad at her, but it didn't matter at all. She had found Jack!