Student or Learner
Please would you take a look at the tenth part of my short story, The lieutenant" and correct my mistakes.
In the morning, at breakfast, I hoped to see the lieutenant and observe his reaction, but he never turned up. After breakfast, I sat at a bench opposite the commandant’s office, pretending to read a book, when in fact I hoped to gather some information that would give me a clue about the lieutenant’s fate. In one moment, two olive-green Fiats arrived, and a few high-ranking officers came out and went into the building. They must have been army inquisitors, sent to mete out the punishment. I hoped that at least Milan, captain’s aide and his right hand, would come outside and tell me what was going on, but somehow he was nowhere to be seen. He must have had his hands full cooking coffee for the officers.
After lunch, two Fiats disappeared and that probably meant that the decision had been made. I sat again on the bench, but there was no movement outside. After about an hour, a Land Rover arrived. Two officers went inside and five minutes later, they returned with the lieutenant, who for the first time held his cap straight and did not smoke. Before he heaved himself into the backseat of the car, he looked up and our eyes met. I wanted to shout, “Good luck!” and waive at him, but I was afraid of his reaction and did not move a muscle. In the afternoon, I finally got a chance to talk with Milan and I asked him what was going to happen with the lieutenant, but he answered that that was confidential and he was not allowed to talk about it. “Why are you so interested in the lieutenant? Are you in love with him?” he taunted me. I pestered him the following days, and knowing how almost everyone in our country was susceptible to bribes, I offered to buy him something, but he told me nobody could bribe him, he would not break a promise for all the gold in the world. A few days later, he said without batting an eye, “Buy me two packets Marlboro.”
Milan drew on the cigarette with pleasure, and then held it in front of him as if it had been an object from another planet. “They discussed what to do with him. At first, they wanted to demote him, but they took pity on him because of his age. Instead, they decided to post him at the small border post in Macedonia, close to our border with Albania.”
I thanked him for information and promised him never to tell anyone what I heard. Macedonia, I thought, it was at the end of the world: hot summers, harsh winters, steep mountains, impassable roads and isolated, poverty-stricken neighbour, Albania, governed by a dictator. If the lieutenant got hold of alcohol, he was going to drink himself to death.
About two months later, I got my leave and after a long journey arrived home. It was a special feeling to see our orchard bursting with ripe plums and other fruit and breath in all the smells and scents of my neighbourhood. My family welcomed me with kisses and hugs, and I became emotional. My father brought a bottle of slivovitz from the cellar. “You’ve to taste this one, double distilled, 45 percent; I kept it for years just for this occasion. I keep another one for your wedding.” We toasted, clinked glasses, and downed our drinks. The brandy was golden yellow, smelled of oak and spread like fire in my intestines. I winced and my father said, “What? Are you a sissy?” And he poured us a second glass, which I hopped to pour into the flowerpot on the table, if he turned his head away for a moment. “So how does it feel to be a soldier, do they treat you well?” During the journey, I thought of telling him everything about the lieutenant and his sad fate, but now I changed my mind and decided not to mention him. “They treat us well. Everything is all right.”
“Oh, what I would give to be your age again.” He downed his empty glass and slammed it on the table.
that probably meant that a decision had been made