Opening the front door she could recognize Lisa's chatter and Mum's relaxed laughter. They have been sitting on the couch sipping Mum's black tea. And there was someone else, a squat girl about her age in a girlish bright outfit strolling around their lounge room with a boredoom look at her face.
She stopped casually near Victor playing with blocks. He watched her cautiously for a while and then opened his mouth.
"Victor, it is rude to stuck your tongue out at people," Mum suddenly hammered at him and he quickly ran to find refuge in the Saranda's arm. Mum smiled at her warmly but then she noticed her hair tight in a bun and her expression changed:
"Saranda, where is your hijab?"
Saranda quickly took her veil from her pocket not knowing what to say. Victor grabbed it from her hand and tried to put it on. Saranda felt uncomfortable as everyone was watching in silence. Fortunately Lisa came to her rescue:
"Hullo my darling," she waved her plump arm at her and then turned to the girl: "Look Jenny, here she is, Saranda I have been talking you about, you make wonderful friends."
"Hi," The girl looked Saranda up and down.
"Hi," Saranda replied quietly and then kneeled to Victor to take her veil back: "It's not for you, you silly Billy." She put her veil safely back in her pocket and then pinched Victor's sulky face: "Go play Victor."
Victor ran to Mum, who watched her with silent disapproval.
"It's stuffy in here," Jenny sneered.
"Oh, Jenny you are too wrapped up in yourself," Lisa smiled wholeheartedly at her then she faced Saranda: "This is my niece Jenny, she's won the state dancing competition this year and also she is best in her year level, ones would not believe how she can do it..." Lisa admiringly looked at Jenny, who ignored them now, watching closely her reflection in the window.
"Saranda please take Jenny to a kitchen to have a cool drink and then show her your room perhaps," Mum looked at Saranda sternly expecting no refusal.
Saranda sighed and moved slowly towards her room. The girl followed her suddenly talking fast:
"How can you stand this, so dark here and what is that strange smell," she wriggled her nose as they passed kitchen: "Lisa has told me you hae strange customs, that old cow thinks its fabulous."
Once in Saranda's room she moved around touching staff with open curiosity.
"Look what you have here - you're such a banger," she touched her old scruffy teddy bear.
"Cut it out," Saranda grabbed it out of her hands.
"Sorry," she raised her arms in pretended defence: "And that mother of yours, she is so old fashioned, you know, I bet your father..."
"What?" Saranda hissed at her.
"Oh, nothing," Jenny turned around to touch Star Wars posters: "That's cool, we can go to movies, if you want, another episode is coming out."
"I don't think so."
"Why not?" Jenny grimaced watching her nails closely: "Do you have any green nail polish by any chance, any will do, I am not fussy...but Lisa she has only that boring purple..."
Saranda shook her head and asked to change the subject quickly: "And what about your parents?"
"What about them?" She looked at Saranda with disbelief on unusual question: "Dad bought me a new DVD player, come over for a movie night...it's so quiet there now when they split up..."
"You mean they divorced?"
"They never married," Jenny pulled her lips to kiss her reflection in the window leaving the wet pink mark where her lips were: "Look this lipstick is really nice, it only cost me four bucks..."
Saranda looked at her with silent question in her eyes so she sighed and continued: "Dad is a bit of a drongo, you know, putting up with Mum's earbashing for so long, finally it's over." She grimaced painfully.
Saranda said nothing.
"Anyway, who cares, I 'm going to move out with some friends..." she stretched on Saranda's bed expecting her to be shocked: "I hope it'll work out and I don't end up at my aunties' dreadful place."
But Saranda just kept watching her.
"Jenny, sweetheart, move on," Lisa cheerful voice echoed in teh corridor.
"Hey? I didn't hear what you said." Jenny shouted back grinning wildly and turned back to Saranda: "So, what about watcing Jeepers Creepers at my new place, righto?"
"Jenny," Lisa opened to door and pointed at her playfully: "I knew you would be best of friends," she turned to Saranda: "She is a bit or a stirrer, you know, but good hearted like her auntie."