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untie the ribbon and remove the paper, then I see a box, I

see Mama opening it and then everyone says: Oooh! Look

how beautiful it is, says Mama and tells me I got a dancer, a

ballerina, like me, only I don’t have a short, lacy skirt,

Mama says and turns something on the box the dancer is

standing on, Ballerina, me. Then Ballerina twirls and moves

her legs, up, down, up, down. Then Mama opens her

present. And again everyone says: Oooh! What a beautiful

headscarf, thank you, Albert, thank you, Ida, says Mama

and puts the headscarf back in the paper. I’m standing in

the corner now. Looking at them. Albert and Ida. And the

others. They’re drinking, eating and talking. Albert is

talking about wooden houses. He says that he builds small

wooden houses, that the deserts in Australia are big and

there are many fires. Then he says he will stay a month,

visit his friends, and then go back. Then they go on

drinking. I see Mama. She’s looking at Albert’s face and

listening. I see she’s happy and I’m not afraid of anything. I

haven’t had my drops and I’m not afraid. I’m holding

Ballerina in my hands and listening. Srečko is talking now.

He says he will go to Vienna, to visit Beethoven’s grave,

because Beethoven has been in heaven for a long time,

Mama says. Then they pour wine for Srečko. Karlo pours it

and Srečko is talking and talking and everyone is laughing

and then Srečko sings some music written by Beethoven, he

tells us, and then he cries and everyone keeps laughing, like

they always do when Srečko is talking about Beethoven and

crying and the others laugh. I look at Ida. She’s looking at

Mama. Mama doesn’t see that Ida is looking at her, Mama