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  1. #1
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Friends, part seventeen

    This is the last part of my short story, Friends. Please, would you correct my mistakes.

    If someone wanted to sit beside him at the meals, Omer would tell them that the seat was occupied by his friend Milan. The patients would stare at him incredulously, but their innate fear of conflict prevented them from arguing with him. They complained to Dr Karlsson, but he did not have the heart to impose strict rules on the poor surgeon . Neither did he oppose when Omer demanded a second chair during the interviews. He explained Dr Karlsson that he had to consult with his friend, which he did, talking to the Dr Karlsson in Swedish and then switching to Bosnian and then again to Swedish.
    Dr Karlsson and his colleagues were more amused and more intrigued by Omer’s behaviour each day, but for Merima these were the most difficult moments of her life. She used to visit her husband at least once a week hoping that a miracle would happen and he was going to return home as a healthy and sane man, but to her chagrin, Omer was becoming more obsessed with Milan. Lately, he completely ignored her, not even asking her about Selma and how they managed without him. The worst of all was that he started talking about eternal love between him and Milan, and that they were going to form a civil partnership and live like a couple. “Thank God, we live in the most liberal country on earth,” he said.

    Merima returned home completely broken. She cried inconsolably day after day and took sedatives. “Don’t be silly my daughter,” her mother told her over a bad telephone connection. “There’re thousands of young Bosnian men with a PhD diploma eager to move to Sweden. You can bring in a handsome, young, intelligent man who is going to treat you like a queen. He’ll be so grateful that you’ve given him a chance to a better life that he is going to wash your feet every evening.” After that conversation, Merima began divorce proceedings.
    Omer stayed in the hospital for about one year, and then the authorities had decided that he should move to his own flat, because the costs for his stay and treatment, which did not show any success, were considerable. Dr Karlsson fought to keep him inside because Omer’s everyday performances made him laugh a lot, but the authorities were implacable - Dr Osmanovic was incurable and not worth spending any money or effort. He was discarded in a neglected ghetto where he had to live together with other “untreatable” people: drug addicts, alcoholics, single mothers, jobless, failed artists and deranged intellectuals. Omer got a two room flat, which he modestly furnished with IKEA products. He bought a double bed, so that he and Milan could sleep comfortably, and two cosy armchairs, in which two friends were going to spend hours exchanging their thoughts. This was the happiest period of his life, when he and his friend could talk for days and nights without being disturbed, experiencing true love, which only lifelong friends can feel for each other.
    Being all the time with his faithful friend, Omer did not have need for other people. He would go out shopping, and take a stroll through the town or in the park, where he and Milan would sit on the bench and enjoy the rich scents of trees and twittering of birds. Once a month he would go to the bank to receive money from welfare. The only other person, besides Milan, who came closer to him, was a Kurdish man from Iraq, called Newroz, the owner of a café where Omer went every morning. He would always order two coffees, and Newroz would dutifully bring them without ever questioning Omer about the second cup. He would watch silently Omer talking to his imaginary friend and he thought pity of him. Therefore, he would never charge him for that another coffee; it was always on the house. Newroz knew well how it felt talking to a “friend”. Sometimes, he was talking to Saddam Hussein, but that was a secret he would take with him into his grave.

    THE END

  2. #2
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Friends, part seventeen

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    This is the last part of my short story, Friends. Please, would you correct my mistakes.

    If someone wanted to sit beside him at the meals (This is akward, How about "at mealtime"?), Omer would tell them that the seat was occupied by his friend Milan. The patients would stare at him incredulously, but their innate fear of conflict prevented them from arguing with him. They complained to Dr Karlsson, but he did not have the heart to impose strict rules on the poor surgeon . Neither did he oppose (Add either "Omer" or "it") when Omer demanded a second chair during the interviews. He explained to Dr Karlsson that he had to consult with his friend, which he did, talking to the Dr Karlsson in Swedish and then switching to Bosnian and then again to Swedish.
    Dr Karlsson and his colleagues were more amused and more intrigued by Omer’s behaviour each day, but for Merima these were the most difficult moments of her life. She used to visit her husband at least once a week hoping that a miracle would happen and he was going to return home as a healthy and sane man, but to her chagrin, Omer was becoming more obsessed with Milan. Lately, he completely ignored her, not even asking her about Selma and how they managed without him. The worst of all was that he started talking about eternal love between him and Milan, and that they were going to form a civil partnership and live like a couple. “Thank God, we live in the most liberal country on earth,” he said.

    Merima returned home completely broken. She cried inconsolably day after day and took sedatives. “Don’t be silly my daughter,” her mother told her over a bad telephone connection. “There’re thousands of young Bosnian men with a PhD diploma eager to move to Sweden. You can bring in a handsome, young, intelligent man who is going to treat you like a queen. He’ll be so grateful that you’ve given him a chance to a better life that he is going to wash your feet every evening.” After that conversation, Merima began divorce proceedings.
    Omer stayed in the hospital for about one a year, and then the authorities had decided that he should move to his own flat, because the costs for his stay and treatment, which did not show any success, were considerable. Dr Karlsson fought to keep him inside because Omer’s everyday performances made him laugh a lot, but the authorities were implacable - Dr Osmanovic was incurable and not worth spending any more money or effort on. He was discarded in a neglected ghetto where he had to live together with other “untreatable” people: drug addicts, alcoholics, single mothers, the jobless, failed artists and deranged intellectuals. Omer got a two room flat, which he modestly furnished with IKEA products. He bought a double bed, so that he and Milan could sleep comfortably, and two cosy armchairs, in which two friends were going to spend hours exchanging their thoughts. This was the happiest period of his life, when he and his friend could talk for days and nights without being disturbed, experiencing true love, which only lifelong friends can feel for each other.
    Being all the time with his faithful friend, Omer did not have need for other people. He would go out shopping, and take a stroll through the town or in the park, where he and Milan would sit on the bench and enjoy the rich scents of trees and twittering of birds. Once a month he would go to the bank to receive money from welfare. The only other person, besides Milan, who came closer was close to him, was a Kurdish man from Iraq, called Newroz, the owner of a café where Omer went every morning. He would always order two coffees, and Newroz would dutifully bring them without ever questioning Omer about the second cup. He would watch silently as Omer talking talked to his imaginary friend and he thought pity of pitied him. Therefore, he would never charge him for that another other coffee (Better - ..."charge him for the second cup); it was always on the house. Newroz knew well how it felt talking to a “friend”. Sometimes, he was talking would talk to Saddam Hussein, but that was a secret he would take with him into to his grave.

    THE END
    A somewhat unexpected ending but one that you prepared the reader for.

  3. #3
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Friends, part seventeen

    Dear Gil,
    Thank you so much. Not many people would spend so much time correcting mistakes on a language forum for free. I really appreciate your help, your patience, and all advice you have given me. This short story was long, almost like a novella, but I wanted to describe the background of the war in my country. The war did not come suddenly, but it was expected. One of the reasons was years of the communist dictatorship, which did not allow the people to think with their own brains. Instead, they were always looking at the leader and leaders, but they treated ordinary people like sheep. Now when the war is over and so many people had been killed, these ordinary people, who are today without jobs and future, ask themselves how gullible they could have been. So many friendships and marriages have fallen apart only because people were duped by the nationalists, who promised them better life. Today they have lost friends and wives and they can hardly survive on their meagre salaries.
    Regarding my English, I see that I have to work harder and concentrate especially on the the use of prepositions, and articles. However, I see that I have progressed considerably in the last year or two, and I have to continue in the same way. At least, when I write I feel that I exist as a human being.
    Thank you again.

  4. #4
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Friends, part seventeen

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Dear Gil,
    Thank you so much. Not many people would spend so much time correcting mistakes on a language forum for free. I really appreciate your help, your patience, and all advice you have given me. This short story was long, almost like a novella, but I wanted to describe the background of the war in my country. The war did not come suddenly, but it was expected. One of the reasons was years of the communist dictatorship, which did not allow the people to think with their own brains. Instead, they were always looking at the leader and leaders, but they treated ordinary people like sheep. Now when the war is over and so many people had been killed, these ordinary people, who are today without jobs and future, ask themselves how gullible they could have been. So many friendships and marriages have fallen apart only because people were duped by the nationalists, who promised them better life. Today they have lost friends and wives and they can hardly survive on their meagre salaries.
    Regarding my English, I see that I have to work harder and concentrate especially on the the use of prepositions, and articles. However, I see that I have progressed considerably in the last year or two, and I have to continue in the same way. At least, when I write I feel that I exist as a human being.
    Thank you again.
    Mark Twain's story "The Mysterious Stranger" was somewhat similar to yours in that one of the characters went mad. Though he lived in poverty, he believed that he was a rich ruler. Happiness was in the mind, not in the truth.

    I agree that you have progressed nicely. I urge you to read more novels if possible.

  5. #5
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Friends, part seventeen

    Dear Gil,
    I see people around me obsessed with material things. They want so many gadgets, cars, iPods and other objects, and to get them they have to borrow money from the bank and work hard to pay that money back. I am mostly interested in my brain, because it is the most complicated organ we human beings have. It will probably pass hundreds of years and still we will not know all the secrets of the human brain. When I am writing or reading, I feel that my brain is satisfied and that makes me happy. It is true, I have to read more novels to get the feeling for the language, which native English speaking people have in their blood. But I am patient and hope that in a few years I am going to write much better and have more feeling for English.

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