One Hot Summer’s Day (Part 2)
[What do my characters get up to when it’s been summer holidays here in Australia?]
For a moment I thought they might have really been special residents from the local estate, or at least some odd orphans from the Children’s Home up the road. They were peculiar enough. I recoiled. ‘Er, where exactly are you from? I mean no one goes around in so much hot clothing on a hundred-degree day.’
The lad studied his book while the girl rubbed her pendant.
I slowed down and rephrased, ‘Where do you come fro?’
The boy tapped his book and turned to his sister. She looked over and shook her head. She snatched the book from him, then turning it around in her hands, she shook her head again and shrugged. ‘Kaput!’
‘Wo commest von du?’ I blathered in probably hybrid German.
They stared at me. After whispering to each other, she said, ‘Schweiss.’
‘Schwabia,’ he corrected.
‘Where ever that is when it’s at home.’ I muttered. ‘Ist das Deutschland?’ I asked out aloud.
Once again, they responded with a stupefied expression that signaled that they had not a clue what I was on about.
The young man grabbed the book from his sister, looked at it and smiled. Then he spoke in a deep gentle voice. ‘Where is this place?’ He pointed the book at me.
I had assumed that they were talking about the beach. ‘Um, Somerton Beach.’
‘But what country? Where in the world is this Somerton Beach?’ he persisted.
I blinked. How could two young people be in Adelaide, South Australia and not know it? ‘Okay, dis ist Australia.’ Not exactly perfect German, but it seemed to work.
The boy and girl glanced at each other perplexed.
‘What is dis Australia,’ the fellow asked. He came alongside me and presented the book.
My eyes widened. The book was not a book, but a small screen in which a mini-world revolved in vibrant colour.
‘You have a mini colour television? Cool!’ I stared at the screen, mesmerized by the Earth slowly spinning.
‘Where? Where is de Australia?’ he repeated. In the corner of my eye, I noticed a sword slung under his waistcoat on his back.
I stiffened. These people were getting stranger by the second.
‘It’s south of the equator, in between Africa and South America,’ I stated, pointing out my island continent on the screen. ‘Oh, and a couple of oceans.’ Now, which ones were they again? My twelve-year-old mind was still on school holidays and had forgotten.
He dabbed at the continent. ‘Dere?’
The map zoomed in to contain only Australia.
‘Yes. I mean, ya.’ I poked my finger at the lower middle part of the land. ‘South Australia.’
Using his thumb and forefinger, he brought the map in closer, so that only the Gulf of Saint Vincent and the foot of York Peninsula were visible. The girl was dodging and weaving around and over his shoulder begging, ‘Let me see! Let me see!’
I pointed to the mid-right section of the screen. ‘Dis, ist Adelaide, das capital of South Australia. We are here!’ I indicated a stretch of beach that appeared similar to Somerton Beach.
‘Here? Where you from?’ he asked. I could feel his dark blue eyes upon me. Aware perspiration tracked down my cheeks, I had the desire to go back in the water to cool off.
I pointed while wondering what was taking my friends so long to get out of the water. ‘Here!’
‘You native then?’
I shifted under his gaze. The sun baked me, burning my shoulders.
‘Nein.’ I replied. I wanted to say that I wasn’t, but that was too complicated. I elaborated as best I could in broken German. ‘Mein Grossmutter und Grossvater von Deutschland bekommen.’
‘Oh!’ The lad and the girl glanced at each other and nodded.
‘Hoy! Minna! I thought I warned you not to talk to strangers!’ Monica hollered.
I turned to answer her. ‘She’s right mate! I’m trying to get them to come for a swim!’
‘Geeze! Minna! You were only meant to ask them, to tell ‘em not to touch our bikes! You’ve been there ages!’ Monica called back from the water’s edge. Everything went white for a second. As my vision adjusted from the flash, the sand was green, and the sea red.
I turned to make one last plea to the young man and girl to join us for a swim. Normal colour returned to the now-empty sand dune. A resident of Minda Home ambled down the stairway to the beach. He waved and called, ‘Hi Minna. How’s it going?’
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019
Feature Painting © Summer Sunset, Glenelg © L.M. Kling 2019
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