The Poet, part six
This is the sixth part of my short story, The Poet, please would you correct my mistakes.
My mother heard the news with malice in her eyes, as if she had only waited for the opportunity to accuse me of indolence. She spoke condescendingly, telling me that I should have followed the example of my brother and sister, who had been such excellent students. If death had not taken their lives prematurely, they would have become great scholars the whole country would talk about. I was boiling with rage and wanted to tell her to go to hell, but somehow I managed to remain calm and walked into my room to avoid a quarrel. I lay on my bed, my body shaking, and promised myself to leave the house as soon as possible. I knew I needed a job to make myself independent.
The following days every morning I went to the city centre searching for any kind of job. One day I met a Turkish man called Abass, who needed a factotum for his restaurant. He told me he could not pay more than an average wage, but he promised me free food and a room. I accepted his conditions immediately, even if I knew I was going to sweat blood. But anything seemed better than spending days on end listening to my motherís maundering speech. I would never forget her face when she saw me walking down the stairs carrying two holdalls, and the moment when I gave her the answer to her question about what I was doing. When she heard that I had found a job, her face went crimson. She stood there motionless, staring at me with her grey eyes, aware that I had finally taken my fate in my own hands. She had certainly believed that I was going to spend the rest of my life with her, listening to her endless sermons and tormenting myself. We did not hug each other, nor did we exchange any affectionate words. I only said goodbye and closed the door behind me without giving her a glance.
Every morning I would start my work around ten. I did almost everything: dishwashing, cleaning, chopping vegetables, making sauces and even baking pizzas. I could not say "no" to my boss knowing that he could easily find another worker ready to do the same job for even lower wage. When we closed around ten in the evening I usually would mop the floor and clean the tables. Then I would wait for Abass to check my work and tell me that everything was all right. When he was satisfied, I would take off my apron and my sweaty clothes and stand under the shower for a few minutes in the narrow cubicle in the utility room. As soon as I lay down I would fall into a deep sleep, too exhausted to think about my life.
I was saving every coin to be able to rent my own flat in the future. I did not waste money on unnecessary things, nor did I treat myself with clothes, concerts or the cinema. Sometimes I would walk the streets and parks just to breath in some fresh air and rest my mind. I would meet cheerful families and pairs of lovers, and I felt as if someone was stabbing me in the heart. They were holding hands, kissing and hugging each other and were unconcerned about the world. Their love protected them from everyday troubles and worries. But who was going to love me, a man surrounded with the bags of potatoes, cabbages, onions and the strong smell of burnt oil, which never went away?
After about six months I had saved enough to rent a little flat and buy some furniture. That was one of the happiest moments of my life. I would return from work to my cosy flat and sleep like a log during the night. In the morning, I would wake up, open the window, breath in the fresh air and listen to the chirping of the birds and merry voices of the children in the park down below. Although my life often felt insipid, even difficult, I could always comfort myself with the thought that this was only the beginning of a long journey, which would sooner or later end with a success. At least my boss and my working mates liked me, and their jokes and stories eased my worries. Unfortunately, Abass soon decided to sell his restaurant. He told me he was working so hard that he was sacrificing his own family. His children needed a father, his wife needed a husband, and he was spending days and night in the bloody restaurant earning money, which would never compensate the loss of his familiar life.
I became jobless and for the first time in months I had spare time in abundance. I would go into a cafe, order cappuccino or tea, and sipping them watch passersby walking in the street. Sometimes I went into a restaurant and ate lunch, glad that I could pay it with my own hard-earned money. I also liked to visit second hand and charity shops, although I rarely bought anything. However, it was on one of such occasions when I saw a mechanical typewriter in a charity shop, which attracted my attention. It was compact, with a green body, white edges and white keys. It almost looked as new, and beside it there were three unopened ribbon spools and a green plastic case.
Suddenly I felt an urge to write. When I was a teenager, I used to write poems, but as I grew older, that initial enthusiasm had waned, and I could not remember the year any longer when I wrote my last poem. But now this beautiful machine had sparked that passion again, and when I touched the keys I could feel a strange kind of energy flowing through my body. There was already a sheet of paper in place, and I pressed the keys, watching the bars hitting the white surface and creating words and numbers until the platen came to an end and a tiny bell sounded. ďI must have this typewriter,Ē I told myself. After paying at the cash desk, I rushed home and put it down on a kitchen table. I could feel immediately how this machine was changing the atmosphere of the whole flat. It triggered the memories of my school days and the time when I was in love with the girls from my class. I was shy and insecure and never dared to tell them about my feelings. I was afraid that if they found out what I felt for them, I would be ridiculed and I would never dare to return to school again. Instead, I would come home from school, close the door of my room, take out my secret exercise book, which I kept under the mattress, and penned verses. When my parents were away, I would slink into my fatherís room and I would use his typewriter. I had kept these poems in my room until the day when I understood that my university career was finished, and then in a fit of rage I tore them into pieces and threw them into a dustbin. But now with the typewriter in my possession, I was eager to have a go again.
I sat in front of the typewriter wondering where to start and looking at the keys, when an inner voice told me I had to start with my parents divorce. This was the root of all my problems and my pain. Father leaving us without world, motherís coldness towards his child, and the poor child, unable to understand the selfishness of his parents. I spend hours writing and polishing my poem, until I was satisfied. And I felt instant relief, as if someone had taken a lump of pain out of my body and splashed it on the paper in front of me. Once started I was unable to stop, because after every verse and every poem I had the same feeling of relief. My soul needed healing and poetry was the best medicine.
To be continued.
Re: The Poet, part six
Good description. I commented on certain words which are acceptable but do not fit here. It is rightly said that a thesaurus is a dangerous tool at times.
Originally Posted by Bassim
Re: The Poet, part six
Thank you for your time and patience. Regarding the word "factotum" I have used it because I did not know which word would be suitable for someone doing all kind of work in a restaurant. Maybe I should use simply the word "a worker"? Regarding "my mother's maundering", maybe I should write instead, "my mother's rambling speeches"? English is really a rich language and abounds with synonyms. I try to vary my texts with different synonyms to avoid using the same words, but sometimes, as in these two examples, I use the words which are too formal or outdated. But at least I learn something new even if I make a mistake.
Re: The Poet, part six
Words have to make sense given the total context of a piece of writing. If you were writing a formal paper for a legislative committee studying work trends, then factotum may be the correct word to use. Your story is about a young man just learning to make his way in the world. This type of person, even though he had been exposed to some classic literature, would probably not use such a word. If he did it would be in the sense of "I got a job as a factotum; a word I learned in school. I repeated the word and felt that my time at the university was not a complete loss". I rather like "rambling speeches", mostly because it sounds good and that is exactly what she was doing.
Originally Posted by Bassim
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO