- For Teachers
This is the first part of my short story "FRIENDS". Please, would you proofread it.
“Thank God,” Semir cried out, raising his hands towards the sky, at the moment when the bus crossed the border of his new homeland. Finally, he could breathe freely. After days of a long, dangerous journey, during which the bus was stopped on several occasions and ransacked by the drunken and threatening soldiers, who wanted money and gold in return for free passage, he and his family had managed to escape the claws of death.
Many of the passengers had been robbed of their last savings, women raped, men killed and their bodies thrown into deep ravines and rivers. Semir had been praying incessantly, and whenever he saw the soldiers entering the bus his heart started pounding. Soldiers had their own logic and they would kill, batter and rape at random, taking pleasure in the people’s powerlessness and pain. Semir asked God to let him die, but spare his wife and his two children, the most precious things he had in his life.
At that moment when the bus entered his new homeland, he was the happiest person in the world. None of his family members had been hurt and he did not care any longer about all those material things they had lost. Their comfortable house, a newly bought car, furniture, clothes and other things were in that very moment insignificant. He and his wife were still relatively young and they would work more than before, start a new life and give their children the best opportunities to fulfil their dreams.
After they had been accommodated in a refugee camp, together with hundreds of refugees with the similar fate, Semir bought a dictionary which he did not drop out of his hand. He had it constantly with him, from the moment when he ate his breakfast until late in the evening when he would lie in bed beside his wife and browse through the pages, trying to memories as much words as possible. The language was difficult. He had to strain his tongue and mouth and twist and turn them in all directions to pronounce strange words with their unusual long and short vowels and consonants. It was his own battle which he promised himself to win, no matter the obstacles.
Every day he watched TV and saw the scenes of carnage of suffering in his old homeland: factories and suburbs completely destroyed, refuges with their possessions on horse carts and tractors travelling to the unknown, crying mothers with their killed children in the arms, dead bodies left to rotten on the street, solders holding heads of their enemies as prizes.
But the worst of all was to watch children with amputated limbs lying in hospital beds and talking about their experiences without crying and complaining. These scenes would always affect him deeply and Semir’s eyes would brim with tears. It was extraordinary that the children, who must have experienced such pain, could talk with calm and composure as if they had been describing the scratches and bruises they suffered playing in the playground.
TO BE CONTINUED