Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,588
    #1

    The Nineties, part two

    This is the second part of my short story, "The Nineties." Please would you take a look at it and correct my mistakes.

    I heard children’s cheerful voices down the road. A four-year old Adnan and his older brother Anis, were kicking a ball and scampering around. Their mother Aziza sat at the table in their garden shelling peas. Two hens stuttered and scratched the ground around her feet, hoping that something edible was going to drop down. Her husband Omer was on the roof, replacing a broken tile. Omer loved slivovitz more than anything else. On many occasions, I had witnessed the similar scene. My father went into the orchard to potter around the trees, and immediately, Omer appeared from nowhere, leaned on the metal fence and started chatting, pretending to be interested in my father’s work when in reality he hankered after a glass or two of slivovitz. My father knew what Omer actually wanted, and he went into the house and came up with a bottle and two glasses. Omer and he then sat at a table, toasted to each other’s health, and emptied their glasses in one gulp. His wife told my father not to treat her husband with alcohol, but my father could not resist Omer’s sad eyes, Sometimes my father wrestled with his conscience because giving him alcohol, he was indirectly participating in destroying his health, but on the other hand, Omer got it for free. He could spend his money on more important things his family needed.

    I closed my eyes, and despite the constant thud to my left, to my right I could still hear the chirping of the birds in my orchard. I wondered if some of them had fled from the war and found refuge in our trees, and now were telling their comrades what they had seen and how people could be cruel to each other. As long as I could hear them singing I was safe. Birds usually do not sing on the sites of mass executions. I wished to preserve this oasis of peace, to be able to say good morning to my neighbours, to invite them to a cup of coffee, to taste their cakes and pastries and to sit in my room and breathe in the scent of jasmine under my window.

    I dressed and went to the centre. I wanted to see how my fellow humans behave in this period of turmoil. Restaurants, street cafes and pubs were filled to the brim, and loud music was blaring out of the open doors and windows. At the tables sat mostly young people who laughed, cracked jokes and treated each other with drinks in large numbers. I made my way through the throngs of shoppers, who judging by their bulging bags, did not lack the means. Where all this money did come from, I asked myself. The government was telling us all the time that the country was in crises, but judging by the crowded cafes and shops, money was not an issue for the majority of the citizens.
    I strolled to the market, which was always one of my favourite places. From the distance, I heard a Gypsy woman shouting, “Knickers! Knickers! Cheap knickers, women!” She was squat, wore a wide multicoloured skirt, and stood beside a white hill of thousands of knickers. A queue of women formed in front of her, all eager to snap up a bargain. All stalls were occupied, the pavements of the streets leading to the market lined with hawkers selling everything from cheap sunglasses, fake and original designer clothes, electronics to spare care parts. I walked around, watching people buying eggs, cheese, vegetables and fruits, listening in on their talk, and expecting to hear about their fears and worries about the war. But their conversations were mostly about mundane subjects – inflation, petrol prices, crops, children, grandchildren, weddings, divorces, home renovations, car reparations, and dozens of other problems that occupied their minds most of the time. For many of them, war was an abstract noun, which they had shoved in the deepest recesses of their minds. The house of their neighbour was burning, but as long as the fire did not spread, they ignore it.

    I went to the park, sat on the bench, and watched pensioners playing bocce. They were in an upbeat mood and commented loudly the game. The metal balls they were throwing reminded me of artillery shells, and I could not imagine playing the game without thinking of war. But the old men had already experienced one war in which the Serbs and Croats killed each other and massacred thousands of innocent people, and now when 45 years later the same people were at each other’s throats again, they did not seem to bother or had more important things on their minds.
    A toddler was making his first step on the grass. His mother squatted a few meters away from him, egging him on. The child made two steps and fell down. He looked up at the mother, and she said, stretching out her arms, “Come Milos, come to me.” The child rose, made a few more steps, and fell again. But he did not want to give up and walked on until he reached his mother’s hands, and was smothered with kisses.
    A few couples walked around holding hands or were locked in an embrace. I wondered if some of them were mixed, a Croat and a Serb, who fell in love and never asked themselves what another person believed in or which was his or her roots. Did they lately start doubting their decisions? Was there any future for them?
    To be continued

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,061
    #2

    Re: The Nineties, part two

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I heard children’s cheerful voices down the road. Four-year-old Adnan and his older brother Anis were kicking a ball and scampering around. Their mother Aziza sat at a table in their garden shelling peas. Two hens stuttered and scratched the ground around her feet, hoping that something edible was going to drop down. Her husband Omer was on the roof, replacing a broken tile. Omer loved slivovitz more than anything else. On many occasions, I had witnessed a similar scene. My father went into the orchard to putter around the trees, and immediately, Omer appeared from nowhere, leaned on the metal fence and started chatting, pretending to be interested in my father’s work when in reality he hankered after a glass or two of slivovitz. My father knew what Omer actually wanted, and he went into the house and came up with a bottle and two glasses. Omer and he then sat at a table, toasted to each other’s health, and emptied their glasses in one gulp. His wife told my father not to treat her husband with alcohol, but my father could not resist Omer’s sad eyes, Sometimes my father wrestled with his conscience, because by giving him alcohol, he was indirectly participating in destroying his health, but on the other hand, Omer got it for free. He could spend his money on on things his family really needed.
    One could argue that hens don't stutter (because they don't talk), but that somehow makes sense to me. (Hens do cluck.) Where are they getting all those tables from?

    In my experience drinkers aren't usually that picky about drinking out of the same bottle when there are no glasses available (or even when there are). (What experience? Watching TV?)

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,061
    #3

    Re: The Nineties, part two

    P.S. There is nothing wrong with the table in the garden, but I just think a table is better. (The reason (if you need one) is then I don't keep saying to myself why did he say the table in the garden? (Does that make any sense?))

    (As it turns out, doing it (making suggestions/corrections) is a lot easier than explaining (telling the person why it should be this way and not that way). It's like the difference between public speaking (easy) and teaching somebody how to do it (hard).

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,588
    #4

    Re: The Nineties, part two

    Tarheel,
    People in Bosnia like to sit outside, so whenever there is a porch, garden or orchard there are tables. In Sweden, where I now live, you have to call your neighbour a few days before if you want to invite him to a cup of coffee, but in Bosnia, especially in small towns, people just come uninvited . In Bosnia is one simple rule: You give your guest the best you can, just to make him glad and happy.

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,061
    #5

    Re: The Nineties, part two

    Oh, guess what?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post

    Her husband Omer was on the roof replacing a broken tile.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    His wife had told my father not to give him him liquor, but my father just could not resist Omer’s sad eyes.
    More natural in (American) English.

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,061
    #6

    Re: The Nineties, part two

    I suggest:

    designer clothes as well as knock-offs (counterfeits)



  5. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,061
    #7

    Re: The Nineties, part two

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post

    I closed my eyes, and despite the constant thud to my left, to my right I could still hear the chirping of the birds in my orchard. I wondered if some of them had fled from the war and found refuge in our trees, and now were telling their comrades what they had seen and how cruel people could be to each other. As long as I could hear them singing I was safe. Birds usually do not sing at the sites of mass executions. I wished to preserve this oasis of peace, to be able to say good morning to my neighbours, to invite them to a cup of coffee, to taste their cakes and pastries and to sit in my room and breathe in the scent of jasmine under my window.

    I dressed and went to town. I wanted to see how my fellow humans were behaving in this period of turmoil. Restaurants, street cafes and pubs were filled to the brim, and loud music was blaring out of the open doors and windows. At the tables sat mostly young people who laughed, cracked jokes and treated each other to drinks in large numbers. I made my way through the throngs of shoppers, who, judging by their bulging bags, did not lack the means. Where was all this money coming from, I asked myself. The government was telling us all the time that the country was in crises, but judging by the crowded cafes and shops, money was not an issue for the majority of the citizens.

    I strolled to the market, which was always one of my favourite places. From the distance, I heard a Gypsy woman shouting, “Knickers! Knickers! Cheap knickers, women!” She was squat, wore a wide multicoloured skirt, and stood beside a white hill of thousands of knickers. A queue of women formed in front of her, all eager to snap up bargains. All stalls were occupied, the pavements of the streets leading to the market lined with hawkers selling everything from cheap sunglasses, fake and original designer clothes, electronics and spare care parts. I walked around, watching people buying eggs, cheese, vegetables and fruits, listening in on their talk, and expecting to hear about their fears and worries about the war. But their conversations were mostly about mundane subjects – inflation, petrol prices, crops, children, grandchildren, weddings, divorces, home renovations, car repairs, and dozens of other problems that occupied their minds most of the time. For many of them, war was an abstraction.It was not real to them.. The house of their neighbour was burning, but as long as the fire did not spread, they ignored it.

    I went to the park, sat on the bench, and watched pensioners playing bocce. They were in an upbeat mood and commented loudly on the game. The metal balls they were throwing reminded me of artillery shells, and I could not imagine playing the game without thinking of war. But the old men had already experienced one war in which the Serbs and Croats killed each other and massacred thousands of innocent people, and now when 45 years later the same people were at each other’s throats again, they did not seem to bother or had more important things on their minds.

    A toddler was taking his first steps on the grass. His mother squatted a few meters away from him, encouraging him. The child took two steps and fell down. He looked up at his mother, and she said, stretching out her arms, “Come Milos, come to me.” The child rose, took a few more steps, and fell again. But he did not want to give up, and he walked until he reached his mother’s outstretched hands, and he was smothered with kisses.

    A few couples walked around holding hands or locked in embrace.I wondered if some of them were mixed, a Croat and a Serb who had fallen in love and had never bothered to ask themselves about the other's ethnicity. Had they lately been doubting their decisions? Was there any future for them?
    1. No. (Love is blind. It really is.)
    2. I don't know. (Does anybody?)
    Last edited by Tarheel; 28-Dec-2014 at 21:38. Reason: Changed something (made a space)

  6. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,061
    #8

    Re: The Nineties, part two

    I had to restart, and I couldn't save all the text in red (corrections/suggestions). But I guess you'll figure it out. (It's probably Andrea's fault. )

    Sorry, but it's not really my not fault. (Well, actually it is. I tried to put "everything" in one post. )

  7. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,061
    #9

    Re: The Nineties, part two

    In American English we might say went to town or went to market (a really old expression) or whatever, but we wouldn't say went to centre.


    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,588
    #10

    Re: The Nineties, part two

    I have heard the phrase "went to town" many times, but unfortunately, just when I need to remember that I do not need an article I make a mistake. I think that the use of articles in English is one of the most difficult problems for foreigners, especially for us Slavic nations which do not have any articles in our languages.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. The Nineties, part one
    By Bassim in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 28-Dec-2014, 19:47
  2. [General] FCE reading part part 1
    By emilie10 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-Dec-2012, 19:54
  3. Christmas/ New Year learners' dictionary Part 5 (final part)
    By Alex Case in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 16-Dec-2010, 23:47
  4. peripheral part, surrounding part, periphery
    By manky in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 17-Mar-2006, 07:51

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •