Student or Learner
This is the sixth part of my short story "A Flat." Please, would you proofread it.
In the morning, Ivan put the photos in the pocket of his jacket and went off on his bike without eating breakfast, which was not his habit. When he passed by the politician’s house he felt blood racing to his head. He was not a man who would lose his temper easily, but this morning he was so furious that he would be able to use dynamite and destroy the house together with its owner.
His five angels were doomed to grow up in misery while this opportunist lived in luxury as if he were a greedy capitalist. The Marshal had warned people that the struggle for the new society was going to be long and difficult, that there would be people trying to obstruct it and turn the clock back.
He always used to wave his finger at the crowd and tell them that the enemies of communism and socialism were still not defeated; they waited for every opportunity to harm the ordinary people and tarnish the achievements of the socialist society. In Ivan’s mind there was no doubt that the politician was one of them - a fifth columnist with a mask of a communist.
These thoughts were rushing through his brain and he was pedalling very fast until he arrived in the factory almost breathless. He parked his bike in the yard and then instead walking to the right to his work place, he turned to the left in the direction of the large grey building in concrete and glass, which housed factory management.
He took the stairs two at a time, went by the secretary, who surprised, shouted at him to stop.
He pretended not to notice her and knocked at the door of the factory manager. He did not wait for the answer but opened the door and entered.
The manager was a man in his forties who started his career as a simple worker, but thanks to his membership in the party, he climbed up quickly, although his intelligence, as well as knowledge of the production were rather mediocre.
He was drinking his first morning coffee and reading the paper, leaned back in his comfortable chair.
“What in heaven’s name is going on,” he said, folding the paper and throwing it on the table. “Why didn’t you make an appointment first?”
Ivan apologised for disturbing him. He told him that this was the first time since he had started working in this factory that he complained, but now he could not stand it any longer. He worked hard for so many years and still his family was without a proper flat.
His five children needed space to study and play. They wanted to breathe fresh air and not smells of mould and decay. They deserved to have their own rooms and not crowd together with their parents.
“It’s not me who can give you a flat. You know that well, Ivan,” answered the manager. You have to queue as everybody else.”
“I’ve been queuing for years,” Ivan answered. “And nothing happens.”
“If you are dissatisfied with the decision of the commission you can always lodge a complaint,” the manager said, irritated that Ivan had spoilt his morning ritual.
“A complaint? To whom?”Ivan said and at the same time took out his photos and put them on the table before the manager. “Tell me, is this just and equal society we are fighting for? This is the house belonging to the comrade Janko, the member of the Central Committee. There is enough space for at least six families like mine and he and his wife live there alone.”
All of a sudden, the manager became interested in the black and white photos. He looked at them with his vacuous eyes, trying to understand what all this meant and how he should react.
“Who gave you these photos?” he asked, staring suspiciously at Ivan.
“I took them myself with my own camera,” Ivan answered.
“You shouldn’t do that,” he said. “Comrade Janko is a very important person. He deserves to live in such a house.”
Ivan wanted to tell him that he was not envious. He wished comrade Janko everything best in his life. He only wanted a proper flat for his own family. However, the manager cut short their discussion telling him that he had an important appointment in a few minutes and, unfortunately, he could not help him.
They shook hands and he told Ivan to take back his photos and not show them around for the others. Ivan left feeling relief. He did not achieve what he wanted, but at least he spoke his mind.
This was just a beginning. He was going to speak to more important people. He would not remain silent until he got justice and gave his family better living conditions.
In the afternoon when he came back home and Jelena served him a cabbage soup, he told her what had happened in the manager’s office. She listened silently, shaking her head and then said, “My Ivan, you are playing with fire.”
“But the truth is on my side,” he answered feeling a piece of old bread lodging in his throat.
TO BE CONTINUED
Thank you so much for your proofreading and your contribution in my endeavour to one day master the English language.
All the best,