The advantage of American spellings: less typing.
Student or Learner
Please would you correct the mistakes in the second part of my short story, "Train transports."
I was eager to use the camera and went outside for a walk around the town. Autumn was in full splendour, and its yellow, brown and red colours dominated the landscape. Everything was nice and neat, but I missed Bosnian autumn with the orchards smelling of ripen fruits, plum brandy coming out of a distillation apparatus, marmalades cooked in large pots over the open fire, and above all I missed my friendly neighbours and their chat and jokes. In this part of Sweden, the climate is not favourable to fruit, and what you can see on the branches are usually some small sour apples, which not even birds or animals bother to eat.
Whenever I went with my camera in my hometown, people would always stop and talk to me. They were interested in knowing what kind of camera I had, what kind of lenses I was using, and what kind of motives I liked to photograph. Here I was almost invisible. Passers-by walked by me as if I did not exist, children were engrossed in their games and discussions, and other people followed their daily routines and did not bother with a stranger with a camera. Sometimes I would photograph a nice house; my camera mounted on a tripod. Its owner would come outside to pick up his post from his letterbox, and despite me standing just two, three steps from his fence, he would ignore me, open the box, take out his post and return to his house without giving me as much as a glance. What a strange country, a thought, if we were in Bosnia, we would not only talk to each other as old acquaintances, but probably we would end up at the table drinking slivovitz or coffee.
Winter came with heavy snowfalls and the temperatures that dropped to -25C. In some other countries, this would have caused significant interruptions of services and traffic, but the Swedes have mastered snow ploughing and road maintenance to perfection, and life went on as usual. I could hear snowplough trucks, bulldozers and other vehicles working the whole night, and in the morning it looked like a great magician had been here and pushed all the snow off the roads and paths. At some places, you got an impression as if walking through the trenches with tall walls of snow around you and the hard-packed snow under your boots. This was the war against the winter, which the Swedes had won convincingly. Within hours, streets and paths were filled with merry children riding their sledges, cross-country skiers and ubiquitous snowmobiles, which in this part of the country are not used only as a means of transport, but also as an expensive toy. Sometimes I stood in front of a hill watching grown-up Swedish men driving their expensive snowmobiles like madmen and chasing each other up and down and zigzagging the tall fir trees. Later, whenever I read in the newspaper that a reckless driver had been killed somewhere in the woods, I did not feel sorry for him or her. I thought they had brought the accident upon themselves.
Most of all I preferred to photograph trains in motion. The town itself is insignificant, but its train station is an important junction and facilitate the transport of goods and passenger trains between the north and south. They run twenty-four hours a day and they are never late, no matter the weather conditions. I often stood with my camera close to the rails at the bend and awaited the arrival of the powerful engine. It rushed towards me and then turned away, leaving in its wake a large curtain of ice and snow, which splattered all over me and made me almost lose my balance.
I made my long walks every day. I woke up early in the morning and I was eager to take my equipment and go outside into the freezing cold and wander across the white landscape. I did not care where I was going or how cold it was. I wore a cheap winter jacket I had bought at a discount shop, a pair of Levi’s jeans I had with me from Bosnia, and a pair of boots I found in a skip outside our camp. Although the temperatures were constantly around -25C I would walk for hours, and still I never froze. I was overjoyed to be able to walk freely in one of the most beautiful and developed countries in the world. Nobody was going to imprison me again and put me in a prison camp where a drunken guard and his comrades could torture me and kill me just for a hack of it. Nobody was going to order me to carry a white band around my arm as we all Bosniaks had been ordered to do by the Serbian authorities in my hometown. In this peaceful place, nobody was going to stop me in the street and ask me what God I prayed to, what were my origins and what my father did during the Second World War.
I walked further and further until the only sound I could hear was the crunching of the snow under my boots. The sun was strong and dazzling, and the snow sparkled as if covered with a myriad of precious stones. The almost absolute silence and the whiteness around me affected my mind like a drug. There was neither space nor time, just this crunching sound and endless whiteness, which repeated itself every winter for thousands of years. I did not know how long I walked in this state before I awoke by a barking of a dog, which suddenly came running towards me. I heard a man’s voice, “Rex! Come here.” The dog did not obey his owner and instead came very close. He was a large German shepherd. He stopped barking, sniffed at my boots, and wiggled his tail. I patted him and he licked my hand.
“I’m sorry if my dog has frightened you,” the older man huffed and puffed.
“No need to apologize, the old man,” I said, “I’m not afraid of dogs, only of humans.”
He smiled and we shook hands. His hand was surprisingly firm and he looked me straight in the eye. “My name is Hans,” he said. He asked me where did I come from and when I answered he said, “So you were Tito’s pioneer.” He laughed and told me how Tito got his fingers slammed in a car door by one of his bodyguards during his visit to Stockholm. “Fancy a cup of coffee?”
To be continued
Last edited by Bassim; 15-Mar-2015 at 17:48.
The advantage of American spellings: less typing.
Last edited by Tarheel; 16-Mar-2015 at 15:52. Reason: fix horrible grammar error
Thank you Tarheel,
I have to admit I thought for some reason that birds and animals were two different groups. I was good at biology when I was in school, but after decades one seems to forget what one had learnt.
Your version of the sentence above "....what I like to photograph" is the best. I see that my version with "what kinds of things I liked to photograph" is a little awkward.
I am wondering about the sentence: "Nobody was going to order me to carry a white band around my arm as of us Bosniaks had been ordered to do by the Serbian authorities in my hometown." Is the phrase "as of us Bosniaks" a correct one. I cannot remember I saw the phrase "as of us" in a written text, but probably I am wrong.
Regarding "Tito's pioneer, I can say that in every socialist country they had children dressed in white shirts with red scarfs. They sang patriotic and revolutionary songs about the leader and the party. They called them "pioneers".
You can also say: what subjects I like to photograph, which is the word used in photography.
I think the 'of us' is not right:
Nobody was going to order me to carry a white band around my arm as
of uswe Bosniaks had been ordered to do so by the Serbian authorities in my hometown.
It is all right, Tarheel. Even great masters sometimes make mistakes.