Please would you correct my mistakes in the first part of my short story, "Train transports."
When I arrived in Sweden in 1993 as a refugee fleeing from the war in Bosnia, I passed through a few refugee camps. After a long and tiring journey through Europe we arrived at a port in the south of Sweden, where the immigration authorities registered us, gave us some food and medical help for those who needed it before sending us to another camp. Every few weeks they sent us to another place, more and more to the north. When we arrived, it was still summer and days were long and sunny, and the beautiful Swedish girls walked around in the skimpiest clothes I had ever seen in my life. But the summer was short, and soon the autumn brought its yellow and brown colours and low temperatures.
One day, I arrived on a train with a group of my fellow compatriots in a little town where the Swedish immigration Board had established a refugee camp. It was an ordinary housing estate built in the 1960s when the town started to prosper. But unfortunately, 30 years later, the unemployment became rampant and the people moved to the south. The blocks of flats stood empty and abandoned until someone hit upon the idea to accommodate hundreds of refugees from all over the world fleeing from all kinds of evil, misery, conflicts and similar problems. We, Bosnians, had been promised a residence permit by the Swedish government in advance. There were many refugees from other countries whose applications had already been rejected and they lived in limbo, not knowing what was going to happen to them the next day. Some of them had been in Sweden for years, and they saw their rejection as an ultimate insult. They were both desperate and angry. In one moment they were hopeful and believed in a miracle, and in the next, they cursed the Royal Family, the Prime Minister and the selfish, stingy Swedes.
I shared a two-room flat with three other Bosnians. My roommate was a middle-aged, overweight truck driver. His wife and daughter remained in Bosnia, and they could not leave their town, which was under the control of the Serbs. He would wake up every morning around six, sit down at the table close to the window, light a cigarette and switch on a cassette recorder, which blasted terrible Bosnian folk music, which made my hair stand on end. I begged him time and again to switch it off or at least turn the sound down, which he eventually did for a few minutes, but then the torture started again. I ate my breakfast sitting opposite him and I felt as if with every mouthful I was not only eating food, but also his music, which poisoned my stomach. He wore a white undershirt all the time, which he never washed, and which smelled of his sweat and cigarettes. Thick body hair curled under it and covered his strong shoulder muscles and arms. With his large square-jawed head without hair and with his strong neck, he looked more like a bull than a human being, and I wondered if I would be strong enough to strangle him. After I had been released from a prison camp, I had noticed that I had become oversensitive to many different things, noise among them. Where before I could have sat surrounded with dozens of noisy children and never felt disturbed, nowadays a scream of a little baby was like drilling a hole in my head.
In the night, I lay awake and listened to the hoarse snoring of my roommate. I imagined my hands gripping his neck firmly and my thumbs pressing his larynx towards his cervical vertebrae until he choked and his wild eyes opened only to see me laughing at him and pressing ever harder until the last atom of life left his fat body.
I asked the other two flatmates if they were disturbed by the loud music, but they both were yokels who had grown up with such songs and they told me it reminded them of their villages in Bosnia, and they enjoyed it. I had no other choice but to ask the camp manager to help me to change a flat. A red-haired woman in her fifties welcomed me warmly in her office, which was just another two-room flat equipped with office furniture. I explained to her my problem, and she turned to her computer, typed in my number and soon told me I could move to another flat in the building opposite her office. Then we talked about the war in Bosnia and she said how sorry she was when the war started. She visited that part of the Balkans many times before the war broke out, and she had many beautiful memories from her holidays on the Adriatic Sea. She asked me what I was doing during the day and I answered I read books in Swedish, talked to the natives if they were willing to talk to me, and walked around the town.
“Pity I had no my camera with me, I could have taken some beautiful pictures,” I said.
“Do you want a camera?” she said. “We have here the complete equipment. Nobody uses it. You can borrow it.”
She went to adjacent room, returned with a camera bag and put it down on the table in front of me. I opened it and saw a Canon with two zoom lenses, a large telephoto lens, a flash and a couple of filters and film rolls. I was speechless and gasped with surprise.
“Do you have a tripod, too?” I asked.
“Of course,” she said and went back to the room and brought it and put it in front of me.
The same day I moved to my new room, which I was going to share in the coming months with a man who lived in a town close to my own and behaved like a civilized human being. We had many common interests and became great friends.
To be continued...
1. When people are having a dialogue, it is best to separate what they say instead of cramming it into a single, large paragraph.
Student or Learner