Thursday, April 28, 2011


    "It was a car accident, Jack," Saranda whispered remembering what George had told them on their visit.

    "How do you know, who you think you are, sticking your nose into other people's business," looking at her savagely, he put his hand into his jeans pocket and took out a carefully folded letter: 'You may as well read this."

Saranda opened it with open curiosity, the top part was unreadable, there were brownish dried out patches, looked like spilled beer. She skipped with her eyes to the middle part, where the letters emerged: ...the biggest thing I have been dealing with is that she is dead and not coming back. I am so sorry but sorry just isn't enough, I just can't make up for it. I feel sorry for you, my son. I've taken her away from us. It's something I can't give back. It's impossible...the letters disappeared again but now they looked like washed by...tears?

    "Oh, again, Jacky whacky family story," Kathy boomed over them and Jack quickly grabbed his letter from Saranda's hands and put it back to his pocket.

    "So what about your bargain?" Jack glared at her angrily.

    "Bloody bastard, he chased me nearly up to here," Kathy was bubbling over with joy as she handed them the beers and chips.

    "Watch him, he's a real nasty one, you'll end up in jail," remarked Jack: "Gosh, I used to hate stealing, more than anything else..."

    "What's the matter with you?" Kathy opened the can and took a big gulp: "That's a beauty!" Her curls bounced about as she spoke.

    "Sorry, I don't drink beer." Saranda shyly handed back her can.

    "I'll be a monkey's uncle!" Kathy wiped the white stuff around her mouth: "Every child love beer in our settlement in the bush beyond Halls Creek."

    "You mean the collection of wretched caravans and iron shacks along an old creek bed in the middle of nowhere?" Jack grinned at her.

    But Kathy continued ignoring him: "Mum used to cook our tucker on the fire. Then when it came night time, she would fill an old bathtub and all the little ones have a bit of a swim in it," she stopped watching dreamily the flock of seagulls fighting over a dead fish: "As a little kid I loved the camp but as I grew up I got itchy feet..."

   "Not only feet, I can tell you that..."Jack grinned at her again and she slapped him laughingly over his head with the empty can.  When she turned back to Saranda her eyes were sad although her mouth was still twitched in a disappearing smile.
   "I got really depressed there," she continued and made a funny grimace that even Saranda couldn't suppress laughter.

    "Oh, you laughing lot, I wish to see you there," Kathy waved her hand: "I remember my drunken father came to where I was sitting and slapped me for nothing. He slapped me so hard it sounded 'bam' and knocked me over so I landed in the branches of a nearby bush. Once he hit me with his fist so hard that there's still a scar on my head here. Look." Kathy showed Saranda a big red mark. A single sob welled up from somewhere deep down and shook her shoulders.

A big lump rose in Saranda's throat. She knew how Kathy was feeling. She suddenly held out her arms and hugged Kathy tightly.

Kathy smiled at her broadly and continued: "One morning a truck came by on its way to Perth. I went over to the driver and asked for a ride. I looked older than I am so he agreed and here I am, happy as Larry."

They kept sitting there, heads together. Kathy studied Saranda. She like her, like her quiet soft foreign voice, he half-shy air and the suggestion that hung about Saranda of things seen and done. Jack watched Kathy with obvious disgust: "I think I better kick off, you drama queen..."

   "Jack," Saranda suddenly remembered something: "Could you come over early morning this Saturday, it's a long weekend, you know," she handed him a scrap of paper with her address: :Here, I mean if you have time to spare."

He took the paper and put it in his pocket: "ep, why not, I have nothing against home cooked 'brekky'," he stretched lazily on the sand: "Can I stay for roasted lamb as well?"

   "Can I come too?" Kathy jumped up licking her lips.

   "Sorry guys, but my parents..."

   "Don't like homeless and especially Aboriginal ones, " Jack finished her sentence with a wink: "We heard this one so many times before, didn't we, Kath?"

   "No," Saranda shook her head, but Kathy looked doubtful. "Kathy, why you don't go to school?" Saranda quickly changed the unpleasant subject.

   "Her school days are over," Jack said. "She likes booze too much, and also..."

   "And what 'bout' you, dag, you don't?"

   "Give me something I can believe in and I'll stop."

   "Phew, what a whopper,"" Kathy sighed and then she turned to Saranda: "Look, here, I 'll show you something if you give me some dope..." she danced around Saranda holding her repaired tiny golden chain on her outstretched palm.

    "My golden sun, and it's repaired," Saranda grabbed it quickly from Kathy's hand and put it around her neck: "Look, I am really sorry..."

    "For what, I would not come anyway and him," Kathy pointed at Jack pretending to sleep on the sand: "He needs to wash somewhere anyway..."

    "What you talking about?" Jack jumped up and chased Kathy along the beach.

When Saranda came home late that day, her face was beaming. Her Dad was waiting for her at the front and told her what she had already expected. She can forget the trip to York.  She didn't mind, not now when Jack was coming....


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