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    #1

    The Tumour, part six

    This is the sixth part of my short story, "The Tumour." Please would you correct my mistakes.

    Sunday morning was another beautiful day. A warm breeze and sunlight streamed through the open window. The birds chirped in the nearby trees. The pleasant aroma of the newly brewed coffee was spreading through the corridor and rooms. Alf woke up early in the morning. I could hear him whistling as soon as he got to his feet. He spent a long time in the bathroom, and when he returned fresh from the bath, he stood with a pair of scissors in front of the mirror and trimmed his moustache, his hair on his sides, and with a comb corrected his parting. He dabbed aftershave on his newly shaved face, and put his brown suit on and tied his tie. “They’ll be here shortly,” he said, his face beaming like a child’s in a toyshop.

    There was a loud knock on the door and a man and a woman stormed inside. They wore dark business suits, carried briefcases and had earphones in their ears. They looked like businesspeople heading towards an important meeting. They were in their forties. She was tall and slim. Her thick brown hair was tied in a ponytail. She could be a model who had come out straight of a glossy magazine. The man was taller than she was, suntanned and with his brown hair slicked back. A delicious scent wafted towards me – a scent of successful and ambitious people. They hardly gave me a glance and uttered curtly, “Hello.” “Papa,” they said in unison and hugged Alf, but not with deep affection I had expected of the children who had come to visit their father before his important operation. Typical Swedish, I thought, no feelings, no strong emotions - a pat with a hand, a slight squeeze of fingers, some words of encouragements, and beyond that, a thick, impenetrable wall with a facade that should be kept unchanging under all circumstances.

    I slid out of the room to give me roommate the opportunity to talk with his children, undisturbed. I walked up and down the corridor two three times, and looked through the half-opened door with the old woman and her companion. The scene was the same as I had left it the previous day. At least the man keeping a vigil by her side was proof that compassion still existed in this society. I went into the lounge and sat there for just a about few minutes when the door opened and Alf came in, crying and sobbing. “They have no time for me.” His voice was trembling. “My children, my blood...I can be dead tomorrow, and they have no time. I have no children any longer.” A middle-aged nurse came up to him and hugged him, telling him everything was going to be all right. He should calm down and prepare himself for the coming operation. But Alf had not been listening. He was not in this room anymore. His old body was sagging in the chair, but his mind had moved away and wandered in another sphere, beyond pain, beyond life.

    I avoided Alf the whole day. What could I tell him anyway? What kind of advice could I give to the man who had experienced such pain that he had become numb? If I and had my own children who had grown up in this country, maybe the similar fate would be awaiting me, too. Since I had come to Sweden, my mind had become confused. What my father taught me when I was a child did not apply on this society. My inner voice told me, “Be like a wolf if you want to survive.”
    In the morning, before breakfast two nurses came into our room and told my roommate to follow them to the operation theatre. He had the same painful grimace and empty eyes from yesterday. He mumbled something unintelligible and shuffled out of the room.
    THE END
    Actually this should be the end of the story:
    In the afternoon, I walked down the hill on my way home, sweating more than ever before. My operation was a Pyrrhic victory. My hands and head were completely dry, but now the sweat was trickling all over my body. Even my knees were now dripping of sweat, which made visible marks on my trousers. Under my groin, a large wet spot had formed. People must have thought I had wetted myself. I was so ashamed to go through the main street, and took a short cut along the river were passersby were rare: a few joggers, dog walkers and bicyclists. I fingered a crumpled piece of paper with Alf’s telephone number and address in my pocket, but I knew I was never going to contact him. What could two dead men talk about anyway? The wind from the river cooled my body, and I wanted to jump into the water and let the waves carry me far away to my roots, to the south.
    THE END
    Last edited by Bassim; 18-Jan-2015 at 22:45.

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The Tumour, part six

    After my wife's last stroke she wound up in a hospice, and I waited for her to die. (I prayed for a miracle that never came.) Sometimes she would open her eyes wide with no look of recognition on her face. Maybe I will post #3 in the Poetry and Prose folder/subforum today. (You will understand what I mean if you have read the first two.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post

    Sunday morning was another beautiful day. A warm breeze and sunlight streamed through the open window. The birds chirped in the nearby trees. The pleasant aroma of the newly brewed coffee was spreading through the corridor and rooms. Alf woke up early in the morning. I could hear him whistling as soon as he got to his feet. He spent a long time in the bathroom, and when he returned fresh from the bath, he stood with a pair of scissors in front of the mirror and trimmed his moustache, trimmed the hair on either side of his head, and with a comb corrected his part. He dabbed aftershave on his newly shaved face, and put his brown suit on and tied his tie. “They’ll be here shortly,” he said, his face beaming like a child’s in a toyshop.

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    #3

    Re: The Tumour, part six

    I have read your poems, Tarheel, but I did not want to mention that to you before because I was afraid that I would only open your wounds. But when I read your poems dedicated to your wife, my immediate feeling was about a deep sorrow you must have felt since she had disappeared from this world. But at least, you have beautiful memories from the time when you were together. Nobody can take them from you.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: The Tumour, part six

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    There was a loud knock on the door and a man and a woman stormed inside. They wore dark business suits, carried briefcases and had earphones in their ears. They looked like businesspeople heading towards an important meeting. They were in their forties. She was tall and slim. Her thick brown hair was tied in a ponytail. She could have been a model who had come straight out of a glossy magazine. The man was taller than she was, suntanned and with his brown hair slicked back. A delicious scent wafted towards me – a scent of successful and ambitious people. They hardly gave me a glance and uttered curtly, “Hello, Papa!” They spoke in unison and hugged Alf, but not with the deep affection I had expected of the children who had come to visit their father before his important operation. Typical Swedish, I thought, no feelings, no strong emotions - a pat with a hand, a slight squeeze of fingers, some words of encouragement, and beyond that, a thick, impenetrable wall with a facade that should be kept unchanging under all circumstances.

    I slid out of the room to give my roommate the opportunity to talk with his children, undisturbed. I walked up and down the corridor two or three times, and looked through the half-opened door into the room with the old woman and her companion. The scene was the same as I had left it the previous day. At least the man keeping a vigil by her side was proof that compassion still exists in this society. I went into the lounge and sat there for just a about few minutes when the door opened and Alf came in, crying and sobbing. “They have no time for me.” His voice was trembling. “My children, my blood...I could be dead tomorrow, and they have no time. I have no children any longer.” A middle-aged nurse came up to him and hugged him, telling him everything was going to be all right. He should calm down and prepare himself for the coming operation. But Alf had not been listening. He was not in this room anymore. His old body was sagging in the chair, but his mind had moved away and wandered in another sphere, beyond pain, beyond life.

    I avoided Alf the whole day. What could I tell him anyway? What kind of advice could I give to the man who had experienced such pain that he had become numb? If I and had my own children who had grown up in this country, maybe a similar fate would be awaiting me, too. Since I had come to Sweden, my mind had become confused. What my father taught me when I was a child did not apply in this society. My inner voice told me, “Be like a wolf if you want to survive.”

    In the morning, before breakfast two nurses came into our room and told my roommate to follow them to the operation theatre. He had the same painful grimace and empty eyes from yesterday. He mumbled something unintelligible and shuffled out of the room.
    THE END
    In AmE we would say operating room.

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    #5

    Re: The Tumour, part six

    I am wondering if I could rephrase the sentence above," They hardly gave me a glance..."
    into the sentence like this "They hardly gave me a glance and uttered curtly, "Hello", and then they greeted Alf with "Hello Papa" in unison.

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    #6

    Re: The Tumour, part six

    Now I understand that I have forgotten to post the last paragraph of my short story .

    In the afternoon, I walked down the hill on my way home, sweating more than ever before. My operation was a Pyrrhic victory. My hands and head were completely dry, but now the sweat was trickling all over my body. Even my knees were now dripping of sweat, which made visible marks on my trousers. Under my groin, a large wet spot had formed. People must have thought I had wetted myself. I was so ashamed to go through the main street, and took a short cut along the river were passersby were rare: a few joggers, dog walkers and bicyclists. I fingered a crumpled piece of paper with Alf’s telephone number and address in my pocket, but I knew I was never going to contact him. What could two dead men talk about anyway? The wind from the river cooled my body, and I wanted to jump into the water and let the waves carry me far away to my roots, to the south.

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: The Tumour, part six

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I am wondering if I could rephrase the sentence above," They hardly gave me a glance..."
    into the sentence like this "They hardly gave me a glance and uttered curtly, "Hello", and then they greeted Alf with "Hello Papa" in unison.
    Yes, that would be good.

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: The Tumour, part six

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post

    In the afternoon, I walked down the hill on my way home, sweating more than ever before. My operation was a Pyrrhic victory. My hands and head were completely dry, but now the sweat was trickling all over my body. Even my knees were now dripping of sweat, which made visible marks on my trousers. Under my groin, a large wet spot had formed. People must have thought I had wet myself. I was too ashamed to go through the main street, and took a short cut along the river where passersby were rare: a few joggers, dog walkers and bicyclists. I fingered a crumpled piece of paper with Alf’s telephone number and address in my pocket, but I knew I was never going to contact him. What could two dead men talk about anyway? The wind from the river cooled me, and I wanted to jump into the water and let the waves carry me far away to my roots, to the south.
    Damn irregular verbs are a pain in the neck.

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    #9

    Re: The Tumour, part six

    Think that I have forgotten this last paragraph, which is so important for the meaning of the whole story. I told you before that I like to scratch the beautiful surface to see what is behind it. This story exactly does that. I start from the problem with the sweating of the main protagonist and then introduce Alf, and end up with the description of the highly developed society, which has unfortunately lost its humanity. Alf's children are probably more interested in his money than his health.

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