Student or Learner
Please would you correct the mistakes in the third part of my short story, Neighbours.
Anna and her husband lived in a beautiful, affluent suburb, which streets were quiet and empty all day long. Their home was a one-storey house, with a driveway and a garden at the front and a small orchard at the back. The street and the houses were planned and built in the spirit of equality. Almost all the houses looked the same, were the same size and had the same gardens and orchards. The city planners had certainly followed the rules of the famous Jante Law which say, “You shell not believe that you are someone. You shell not believe that you are more important than we are...”
Anna and Thorsten did not talk much to their neighbours except for the old couple who shared a palisade with them. They usually chatted with each other, and sometimes invited each other to coffee. Unfortunately, the old man passed away and not long after that, the same fate befell his wife. The house stood abandoned for a few weeks during which a well-tended garden and orchard became overgrown with weeds. The once beautiful roses, dahlias, irises and pansies began to lose their shine and looked like a lost tribe attacked by the barbarians. They arrived in silence and were imperceptible: dandelions, nettles, marigolds, quick grass...Soon the garden and orchard were under their control. Anna and Thorsten stood at their side of the palisade, remembering with sadness the old couple. There must have been some kind of inheritance battle going on - old grudges and hatred, which came to the surface now when the house was going to be sold and money divided between family members.
One morning they woke up and saw FOR SALE board, and breathed a sigh of relief. In the following days there were people coming and looking at the property from all sides, they measured the garden and the walls, opened all the windows, and even went on the roof. A week later the board disappeared and a large lorry pulled up in front of the house. A group of men unloaded the furniture and carried it inside. They locked the door, went back into the vehicle and drove off. The house was silent again.
“Oh, no!” Anna said aloud when she opened the window of her workroom and saw her new neighbours in the garden. It was a large family; besides the parents she counted six children, the youngest was maybe three, four years old. They were talking aloud, their guttural voices grated on her Swedish ears.
“Thorsten! Quick! Come to see our new neighbours”, she shouted.
He listened silently for a few seconds and then said, “They’re talking Arabic.”
“Arabic? Are you sure?”
“Absolutely, I hear it almost every day in my surgery.”
“At least a woman doesn’t wear a veil.”
“Secular Arabs.” Thorsten chuckled.
“Look at their cars.” Anna’s finger pointed at the two vehicles, one on the driveway, and another in front of the gate.
“They must have a lot of money, successful Arabs” Thorsten chuckled again.
Anna closed the window and sat in front of her computer to check her emails, as she usually did before going to her job, but she could not concentrate on anything. The jarring voices from outside somehow managed to penetrate the double glazed window and buzzed inside her head. She looked up, and there, just a few meters in front of her, were eight dark- headed humans crawling all over the place like ants. She stood up, dressed quickly, said a goodbye to Thorsten and went outside. She ignored her neighbours, not wishing to exchange any pleasantries with them, but was unable to ignore two large cars, a silver-coloured Mitsubishi and a black BMW, which she gave a wide berth. Her high heels clicked swiftly on the asphalt while she looked ahead of her. She was thinking about her experiences with the Arabs. There were rare. A few visits to Lebanese and Egyptian restaurants and her chatting with their owners were almost the only occasions when she had exchanged thoughts with the Arabs. As the population, they were something abstract. The media was flooded with the news and stories from the Middle East, although the majority of them were negative: terrorism, killing, wars, torture, human rights abuse, the oppression of women, and other misdeeds, which were unforgivable and incompatible with Anna’s feminist beliefs. Sometimes she would come across women dressed in black burqas walking beside their men who were using the latest version of iPod or other expensive gadgets. These women reminded her of key tags, as if they could not exist on their own. They would never get an opportunity to express themselves in arts, literature, politics, and sports or participate in society in an ordinary way. Later, when she wrote an editorial opposing a burqa ban, she had to cut off those feelings and remain politically correct. Honestly, she had nothing against the Arabs, but often they behaved differently from what she was used to. Since her childhood, her parents and teachers had taught her to be silent, to remain calm and not show any feelings even when excited and angry, not to gesticulate on the street, and not to speak in a loud voice. But since the immigrants and refugees started to arrive in large numbers to her homeland she noticed that their behaviour jarred on her nerves. She kept these feelings for herself, because had she talked to Thorsten, he would have certainly teased her. “How dare you to complain, you, the defender of multiculturalism?”
TO BE CONTINUED