Student or Learner
This is the fourth part of my short story, Neighbours. Please would you correct my mistakes.
The next day was a Saturday, warm and sunny – a perfect day to sit outside and wind down. Anna and Thorsten would often sit in the orchard, drink coffee, eat pastries and cakes, read newspapers and magazines, discuss politics, new published books, exhibitions, concerts and everyday life. They cherished that ritual since they had bought the house more than two decades ago. The dew on the grass under their feet, the scents of flowers and blooming threes, the twittering of birds and the sun filtering through leaves felt like a well-deserved reward after hard work. But when Anna opened the venetian blinds in her workroom her mood turned sombre. On the other side of the palisade, their neighbours worked at full speed. The father cut tree branches using a tree pruner while the mother and her children weeded flowers. Squatted, heads down, they shouted and talked in loud voices. Their nimble fingers pulled up weeds and threw them on a heap in the corner.
Anna lowered her head into her hands and massaged the temples with her fingers. She went into the kitchen where Thorsten sat in his pyjamas and slippers, his blond hair dishevelled from sleep, he was listening to the radio.
“We can’t sit in our orchard today.” She filled the kettle with water and put it on.
“Go to my room and look out the window.”
Thorsten shuffled out of the kitchen and when he came back shouted, “Hallelujah, the weeds are destroyed! Our neighbours deserve kudos for keeping Sweden clean.”
“Well, they may be doing a great job but I can’t sit in our orchard and have them working on the other side of the fence.”
They drank coffee, ate breakfast and after a short discussion, they decided to visit the archipelago. It took them about one hour by car to reach their destination. When they opened the car’s doors and breathed in the fresh sea air, they felt invigorated. They were in Paradise, which the Earth Mother had bestowed on humankind, on Sweden. They walked for hours among the greenery and trees, and the only sound that broke the silence was the gentle lapping of the waves and an occasional shriek of a seagull.
They returned in the afternoon and Anna immediately went into her room to see if their neighbours were still working in the orchard. There were not there but the orchard and garden had been properly weeded, new flowers planted, grass mowed and trees pruned. She breathed a sigh of relief and opened the window wide. The afternoon sun bathed the orchard and her room in golden light, while a warm breeze carried the scent of vegetation and birds’ chirping. She was inspired and sat down in front of her computer. The words poured out of her onto the screen. It would be another great editorial of hers, another contribution in a long battle...
A few days passed in quiet, and then one afternoon, Anna heard shouting and laughing from the neighbours’ orchard. A pair of mini football posts was placed among the trees, and four boys kicked a ball. "That’s all I need," she sighed deeply. The boys were hitting the ball hard and the sound of it and their shrill voices penetrated the double-glazed widow and made her nervous. The ball struck the palisade many a time and she imagined it hitting her window and shattering it into pieces. They embedded into her face, caused her pain and scarred her for life. She was writing an article but could not collect her thoughts. She was angry that such a trifle could interrupt her thinking. It had never happened in the past even when the grandchildren visited the old couple and played in the orchard. They must have kicked the ball and shouted just as these boys did, but why did she not feel annoyed then?
TO BE CONTINUED