Beautifully written. Thank you.
Enver smoked constantly. As soon as he woke up, I would see him sitting in the kitchen, close to the window, lighting his first cigarette and exhaling the smoke through his nostrils and mouth with great relish. Sometimes he would sit with a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee in front of him, contemplating the grey winter landscape on the other side of the window, a glowing cigarette between his fingers.
contemplate the grey winter landscape on the other side of the window. He loved to listen to therock music so that our flat sometimes resounded with Led Zeppelin’s guitar riffs or Jim Morrison’s melancholic voice, his head with chestnut curly hair swaying withto the / along with the music.
However,Whenever he noticed a book in my hand he would immediately turn off the cassetteradio saying, “I hope you willlearn that damn language well and become my personal interpreter.”
Although our refugee camp had free Swedish courses for everyone, Enver never attended them. When I asked him why
didhe did not usetake the opportunity to learn the language for free, he answered that he simply didcould not give a damn about Sweden andor the language whenwith his family wasin danger and the war wasgoing on in our homelandback home.
Every week we received our allowances. It was not much money, but enough to buy food and personal hygiene products. Enver and I would do our shopping in a supermarket and he would always buy alcohol
and. Then he would drink himself into a stupor In such a state heand would often fall asleep on the living room sofa in the living room. Feeling sorry for him, I would cover him with blankets thinking pity of him.
He was thirty years old, only two years older than
myselfme, and he was destroying his health with cigarettes and alcohol, trying to forget his worries, at least for a few hours. I wanted to tell him that he was only harming himself, but who was I to tell him such thingsthat when even I myselfwas nervousscared, all the time, and that I had a premonition that I was never going to see my father alive again.
Outside there was almost
acomplete silence. The only sound I could hear was the crunching of deep-frozen snow under our boots. A lone car passed by, its tyres leaving marks in the snow and skidding for a few seconds before the driver managed to take control overof it again. Eddies of snow rose from the ground in its trail and then fell noiselessly down.
The snow covered everything, and it would not start to melt until spring, about six months later. There was no wonder that people were consuming enormous amounts of alcohol in this part of the world, doomed to struggle with coldness and greyness from birth until death. The only escape from this place was moving away southwards, which many young men and women eventually did. That gave a surplus of flats which the Swedish
stategovernment did not want to keepleave empty andso instead turned them into a refugee camp with hundreds of refugees from all over the world.
As we walked by a row of ordinary houses, I was thinking about how difficult a life people must have lived here in the past without electricity and central heating. Food was scarce, fruit trees rare and harsh winters cruel, like the plague taking life
offrom those who were weak and ill.
This cold climate had undoubtedly mo
ulded human beings making them likewise cold, suspicious and stingy. I walked the streets hoping to see a smile, a friendly face or hear someone laughing, but instead I noticed almostonly grave faces turned into themselves, their bearers busy with their own problems and, uninterested in their fellow citizens. I knew that if I were to stay here I would turn into one of them - an introvert, afraid of everyone, even of oneselfmyself.[/QUOTE]