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her hands. And then he kisses Josipina, hugs Srečko and

me. Hello, Ballerina, he says. Ida is there, the signorina. I

see her. She’s standing at a distance, smiling. In the evening

Mama will tell me that she was embarrassed, poor Ida. In

the evening, when Mama sleeps in my room and


is in

my room, too. Then I see Mama step over to Ida and shake

her hand.


does the same, as do Josipina and Srečko.

Now we’re in the kitchen. I’m looking at Albert, my brother

from Australia. He has beautiful eyes, Albert, like the sea,

says Mama. Ida has similar eyes. Mama says that people

who love each other always have something in common on

their faces.

Albert and Ida are handing out parcels. One for everyone.

Mama says that they are presents and we must open them. I



has already opened his. Mama says it’s an ashtray

in the shape of Australia. Oooh, how beautiful it is, she

says. Then Karlo unwraps his present. Mama says he got a

bottle with photographs of kangaroos. It’s Josipina’s turn.

She unwraps it slowly. Then she says: Oooh, what a

beautiful plate! and she shows us it. I see Josipina holding

the plate. Then I hear Albert say that a photograph of the

capital of Australia is stuck on the plate. Everyone says once

more: Oooh, how nice it is. Then Srečko unwraps his

present. Albert says that it’s a barrel organ, where you have

to turn the handle and then music plays. Albert says that it

plays the song

Lili Marleen

. Then Mama says I should

unwrap my present. I can’t. She helps me. I see her hands