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    #1

    The captain, part one

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

    My parents divorced when I was six years old. It was such a traumatic experience that I would not be able to get over it, not even as a grownup man. I still remember the quarrel in the adjacent room, mutual accusations, shouting, swearing, taunting, cursing and stomping, until the door slammed and someone left the room and rushed outside. I stood on my bed, leaned on the windowsill, and saw my mother striding down the street. She wore her red coat and carried a brown bag. The street bent to the right and went parallel with our orchard, and I waited for her eyes to turn towards me, but that never happened. If she had moved her head just a few centimetres towards right, she would have seen me watching her in amazement, but her goal must have been to disappear as soon as possible and as far as possible. I would remember that moment year after year, and I had never forgiven her. To leave my younger sister and me without a word or a sign meant the ultimate betrayal.

    I was confused and did not know whom to hold responsible for the breakup, my father or my mother. I would ask myself many questions, but I never found the answers. How my father could marry my mother, was one of them. He was an experienced man who had seen the world, had a good job as a foreman at the large building company, and had not lacked social skills. He was handsome, talkative and liked by everyone. One day he was buying a pack of his favourite cigarettes at the kiosk. The garrulous woman in a little, stuffy, metal building had been kind and bantered with him. My father returned the next day and became a regular customer. I would never know what had been happening the following weeks and months, but he must have become infatuated with that plain woman from a village somewhere in the mountains who hardly could read and write. He must have taken leave of his senses when he decided to marry her.
    He had built his house a few years before, but he had not lived there alone. He had his three sisters with him, all unmarried and uneducated. He must have been naive and mindless when he decided to bring his wife in the house to live with his sisters. His hopes had been to live in harmony, but it was a disaster waiting to happen.

    A few months after my mother’s hasty departure, my father took us to the court, which was going to decide about our custody. Although I loved my mother, I wanted to stay with my father and live on in my neighbourhood where I had so many good playmates and neighbours. We entered the courtroom, and I saw my mother for the first time after so many months. My heart beat faster and I shouted, “Mummy!” She looked at me, and I saw tears rolling down her face. She made a few steps in my direction, and just when I believed she was going to hug and kiss me, she grabbed my sister by her arm and they two darted outside, before anyone could do anything. My father panicked and shouted, “She kidnapped my child, and I started to yell and cry. Now I was not only deprived of my mother but also of my younger sister.

    In the following days and weeks, my father searched for them everywhere. He enquired among friends and acquaintances and wandered the streets looking for any sign that could lead it to them, but they seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth. Several months later, we sat again in the courtroom. This time we were like two hostile tribes. My father and I sat on the right side in the room, my mother and my sister on the left, and the judge in between us. I hoped the judge was going to order my sister to return to my father and me, but the middle-aged man with grey hair had come up with the different decision. He told us that because my sister was a girl, the best solution for her should be to stay with my mother, and I, as a boy, should stay with my father. We returned home broken and angry. I think that on that day, my father smoked three packets of cigarettes, and still he could not find peace of mind. He felt like an idiot. A yokel had outwitted him, and he was powerless. In the coming months and years, my mother would take my father so many times to court for different reasons that his health would deteriorate, and which would lead to two heart attacks, which almost killed him.
    To be continued

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    #2

    Re: The captain, part one

    My parents divorced when I was six years old. It was such a traumatic experience that I would not be able to get over it, not even as a grown-up man. I still remember the quarrel in the adjacent room at home, mutual accusations, shouting, swearing, taunting, cursing and stomping, until the door slammed and someone left the room and rushed outside. I stood on my bed, leaned on the windowsill, and saw my mother striding down the street. She wore her red coat and carried a brown bag. The street bent to the right and went parallel with our orchard, and I waited for her eyes to turn towards to look at me, but that never happened. If she had moved her head just a few centimetres towards the right, she would have seen me watching her in amazement, but her goal concern must have been to disappear as soon as possible and as far as possible. I would remember that moment year after year, and I had have never forgiven her. To leave my younger sister and me without a word or a sign meant the ultimate betrayal.

    I was confused and did not know whom to hold responsible for the breakup, my father or my mother. I would ask myself many questions, but I never found the answers. How my father could marry my mother, was one of them. He was an experienced man who had seen the world, had a good job as a foreman at the large building company, and had not lacked social skills. He was handsome, talkative and liked by everyone. One day he was buying a pack of his favourite cigarettes at the kiosk. The garrulous woman in a the little, stuffy, metal building had been kind and bantered with him. My father returned the next day and became a regular customer. I would never know what had been happening the following weeks and months, but he must have become infatuated with that plain woman from a village somewhere in the mountains who hardly could read and write. He must have taken leave of his senses when he decided to marry her.
    He had built his house a few years before, but he had not lived there alone. He had his three sisters with him, all unmarried and uneducated. He must have been naive and mindless when he decided to bring his wife into the house to live with his sisters. His hopes had been for everyone to live in harmony, but it was a disaster waiting to happen.

    A few months after my mother’s hasty departure, my father took us to the court, which was going to decide about our custody. Although I loved my mother, I wanted to stay with my father and lived on in my neighbourhood where I had so many good playmates and neighbours. We entered the courtroom, and I saw my mother for the first time after so many months. My heart beat faster and I shouted, “Mummy!” She looked at me, and I saw tears rolling down her face. She made a few steps in my direction, and just when I believed she was going to hug and kiss me, she grabbed my sister by her arm and they two darted outside, before anyone could do anything. My father panicked and shouted, “She kidnapped my child, and I started to yell and cry. Now I was not only deprived of my mother but also of my younger sister.

    In the following days and weeks, my father searched for them everywhere. He enquired among friends and acquaintances and wandered the streets looking for any sign that could lead it to them, but they seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth. Several months later, we sat again in the courtroom. This time we were like two hostile tribes. My father and I sat on the right side in the room, my mother and my sister on the left, and the judge in between us. I hoped the judge was going to order my sister to be returned to my father and me, but the middle-aged man with grey hair had come up with the a different decision. He told us that because my sister was a girl, the best solution was for her should be to stay with my mother, and I, as a boy, should stay with my father. We returned home broken and angry. I think that on that day, my father smoked three packets of cigarettes, and still he could not find peace of mind. He felt like an idiot. A yokel had outwitted him, and he was powerless. In the coming months and years, my mother would take my father to court so many times to court for different reasons that his health would deteriorated, and which would lead led to two heart attacks, which almost killed him.

    not a teacher

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The captain, part one

    You "grab" the reader with a simple statement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    My parents divorced when I was six years old.
    Excellent choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    It was such a traumatic experience that I would not be able to get over it, not even as a grownup man.
    I think you could replace "not" with "never", but, of course, you could also leave it as is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I still remember the quarrel in the adjacent room, mutual accusations, shouting, swearing, taunting, cursing and stomping, until the door slammed and someone left the room and rushed outside.
    I am going to assume (because that's the way these things work) that they had quarreled before, but this time was different. Perhaps you could say something like: "They had quarreled before -- many times -- but this time was different. (Use your own words, of course.)


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    #4

    Re: The captain, part one

    Tarheel,
    Thank you for your suggestions. Every time when you come up with some new version of my sentences, I am starting to get another dimension of my text.

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    #5

    Re: The captain, part one

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post

    My parents divorced when I was six years old. It was such a traumatic experience that I would not be able to get over it, not even as a grownup man. I still remember the quarrel in the adjacent room, mutual accusations, shouting, swearing, taunting, cursing and stomping, until the door slammed and someone left the room and rushed outside. I stood on my bed, leaned on the windowsill, and saw my mother striding down the street. She wore her red coat and carried a brown bag. The street curved to the right and went parallel with our orchard, and I waited for her eyes to turn towards me, but that never happened. If she had moved her head just a few centimeters to the right, she would have seen me watching her in amazement, but her goal must have been to disappear as soon as possible and as far as possible. I would remember that moment year after year, and I never forgave her. To leave my younger sister and me without a word or a sign meant the ultimate betrayal.

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    #6

    Re: The captain, part one

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I was confused and did not know who to hold responsible for the breakup, my father or my mother. I would ask myself many questions, but I never found the answers. How my father could marry my mother, was one of them. He was an experienced man who had seen the world, had a good job as a foreman at a large building company, and had not lacked social skills. He was handsome, talkative and liked by everyone. One day he was buying a pack of his favourite cigarettes at the kiosk. The garrulous woman in a little, stuffy, metal building had been kind and bantered with him. My father returned the next day and became a regular customer. I would never know what had been happening the following weeks and months, but he must have become infatuated with that plain woman from a village somewhere in the mountains who hardly could read and write. He must have taken leave of his senses when he decided to marry her.

    He had built his house a few years before, but he had not lived there alone. He had his three sisters with him, all unmarried and uneducated. He must have been naive and mindless when he decided to bring his wife in the house to live with his sisters. His hopes had been that they would live in harmony, but it was a disaster waiting to happen.

    A few months after my mother’s hasty departure, my father took us to the courthouse. The court case was to decide who would have custody of the kids (us). Although I loved my mother, I wanted to stay with my father and live on in my neighbourhood where I had so many good playmates and neighbours. We entered the courtroom, and I saw my mother for the first time in many months. My heart beat faster and I shouted, “Mummy!” She looked at me, and I saw tears rolling down her face. She made a few steps in my direction, and just when I believed she was going to hug and kiss me, she grabbed my sister by her arm and the two of them darted outside, before anyone could do anything. My father panicked and shouted, “She kidnapped my child, and I started to yell and cry. Now I was not only deprived of my mother but also of my younger sister.

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    #7

    Re: The captain, part one

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    In the following days and weeks, my father searched for them everywhere. He enquired among friends and acquaintances and wandered the streets looking for any sign that could lead it to them, but they seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth. Several months later, we sat again in the courtroom. This time we were like two hostile tribes. My father and I sat on the right side of the room, my mother and my sister on the left, and the judge in between us. I hoped the judge was going to order my sister to return to my father and me, but the middle-aged man with grey hair had come up with a different decision. He told us that because my sister was a girl, the best solution for her should be to stay with my mother, and I, as a boy, should stay with my father. We returned home broken and angry. I think that on that day, my father smoked three packets of cigarettes, and still he could not find peace of mind. He felt like an idiot. A yokel had outwitted him, and he was powerless. In the coming months and years, my mother would take my father so many times to court for different reasons that his health would deteriorate, and which would lead to two heart attacks, which almost killed him.

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    #8

    Re: The captain, part one

    Tarheel

    - the garrulous women in a little, stuffy, metal building - Shouldn't that be 'the', since 'the kiosk' had been mentioned earlier?

    - In the last sentence, the mother took the father to court, the father's health deteriorated actually happened, etc. Why use 'would' and not the past tense since the events happened?

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    #9

    Re: The captain, part one

    "Garrulous" doen's seem a good choice to describe one's mother, but that could be a matter of cultural differences.

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    #10

    Re: The captain, part one

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    Tarheel

    - the garrulous women in a little, stuffy, metal building - Shouldn't that be 'the', since 'the kiosk' had been mentioned earlier?

    - In the last sentence, the mother took the father to court, the father's health deteriorated actually happened, etc. Why use 'would' and not the past tense since the events happened?
    Well, that's where he met her -- in a little, stuffy, metal building. (That's the first mention of that I could find, not that it makes any difference.)

    Actually, you could use past tense there. Perhaps:

    She took my father to court so many times that his health deteriorated because of it. (I'm not saying the "would...would" construction is wrong.)

    Good catch!

    Esgaleth, there is nothing wrong with describing your mother as gregarious. It's just an adjective, and it's not pejorative.

    (Note that if I don't comment on something it usually means that I think there is no need to change anything. It's also possible that I missed something. (Less likely. )

    (If people are going to keep asking "why" questions I am going to have to charge more. )

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