GilThis is the thirteenth part of my short story, Friends. Please, would you correct my mistakes.
Finally, in his fifth year in a new homeland, Omer saw the result of his endeavours.The Swedes gave him a chance and he got a job in a local hospital. He was overwhelmed with joy. To be able to practice his profession again, to hold his instruments, and to help people filled him with excitement and great expectations. He was eager to show his boss and his colleagues how
skilfulskillful and qualified he was. Soon, he became one of the most popular surgeons in the hospital. Many Swedes wished to be treated by this humble foreigner, who always had time to chat with them and patiently listened to their stories.
In the meantime, his wife Merima, successfully finished her education and found a job in a secondary school. The couple worked hard, and the following year they bought a flat in a pleasant suburb, surrounded by
theparks and woods. The war had made them destitute, but now they could buy any material object they wanted. They could even send some money to their families, who had not an easy live in apost-war Bosnia, which was wounded, divided and plagued by corruption.
Everything went smoothly in Omer’s life until one night he had a terrible dream. He was again in his hometown, in a room without windows or furniture. He was sitting on a bare concrete floor and felt cold. The door opened and
inside steppedhis former friend Milan stepped inside, dressed in a combat uniform, the same he wore on the day of his interrogation years before. Milan was angry and shouted at him. He accused him of being a traitor, an enemy of the Serbs, a monster who wanted to kill innocent people and destroy their homes. Omer remonstrated ("argued" is better) with him, but Milan did not want to hear what Omer was telling him. He hit him in the face and in the kidneys. Omer screamed and pleaded with him to stop. Instead, Milan became furious, and in one moment,Omer saw a large knife in his hand. “I’m going to cut off your tongue! You’ll never lie again!” Milan shouted. He held Omer’s tongue firmly between his thumb index finger, and then put the edge of the knife on the tongue. Omer gave out a piercing scream and woke up still screaming. With his fingertips he touched his tongue to assure himself that his organ (You could write "the organ". In the US, "His organ refers to the penis) was still there. Thank God it was. He switched on the bed lamp to ward off his tormentor. His screaming roused Merima, who bleary-eyed asked him what was going on. He told her about his nightmare. She tousled his hair tenderly and said. “We all have our nightmares; we’re all affected by the war, even if we pretend that everything is as before.”
During these years, Omer never thought about Milan, but now that he had met him in the dream, he was eager to know what happened to his former friend. Next time when he called his mother, he asked her about Milan, and she answered that his name was not on the list of
thewar criminals, nor was he accused of any lawbreaking during the war, but he disappeared at the end of the war and nobody knew his whereabouts. There were rumours that he had moved abroad, to Germany, Spain, or the USA, where he had started a new life under a new identity, but all this could have been just agossip – an activity so prevalent in Bosnian provincial towns.
Omer did not have time or energy to think about his former friend. On the days when he did not operate, he had to write letters to his patients, informing them of the state of their knees and eventual operations. When he did not work, he tried to spend his free time with his daughter Selma, whom he adored, spoiling her with toys and presents. For him, the war was
thea thing of the past, and his homeland and the beautiful memories that came up now and then and made him nostalgic. In war, evil people spread their evil, and good people spread their goodness. He always tried to remember good people and their kindness and forget the evildoers. As for his former friend, he did not know what to think of him. He was angry with him after he left Bosnia and saw him as vile and arrogant, but time had mellowed his anger. There were thousands upon thousands of Milans all over his homeland. Some of them were gullible, some delusional, some bitter, some angry and some envious. Now, the majority of them had understood that they had been deceived by their leaders, who had promised them prosperity and happiness, but instead, had brought mass killings and destruction. Omer was convinced that his former friend had finally come to his senses and regretted being part of a nationalistic ploy. He wished they could meet again, not to renew their friendship, but rather to open their hearts to each other.
He had a few peaceful nights, but suddenly Milan appeared again. This time they were here, in Omer’s flat, although Milan wore the same uniform as in the previous dream. They quarrelled anew, accusing each other of being a liar and a hypocrite. Omer shouted that the whole world saw what the Serbian soldiers had done in Srebrenica. Milan shouted back that the Muslims were killing innocent Serbs too, but the world turned a blind eye, because the West was against the Serbs. Suddenly, Milan drew a dagger and held it just a few millimetres from Omer’s eye. “I’ll make you blind!” he said. “Please, don’t touch my eyes!” Omer screamed and woke covered in sweat. He was trembling with fear, but at least his eyes were still in their sockets, and he could clearly see the moonlight filtered through the venetian blinds. Merima’s soft hand touched his wet forehead. “Poor Omer,” she said, “your tormentors won’t let you off the hook.” ("let you off the hook really doesn't work here. It's too casual. How about "won't leave you alone", or, "won't give you any peace"?)Omer felt embarrassed. He was unable to control his dreams and his subconscious. Now he was troubling not only himself but also his wife.
TO BE CONTINUED
Student or Learner