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    #1

    On the run, part nine

    Would you please take a look at the ninth part of my short story and correct my mistakes

    Back in the camp, the stench hit me like a heavy blow. How different was our world behind the fence to the one outside. Germany was appealing and prosperous, but only for those who had already established themselves or were going places. The refugees were at the bottom of the social ladder. One rung above them stood alcoholics and homeless I saw in the park, holding onto their cans of beer and bottles like a lifeline. They seemed to be living in another world just as we did. Society seemed to be indifferent to them, but they reacted by ignoring society, its values, norms and conventions. They were the only people who spontaneously greeted me whenever they saw me, by raising their cans and bottles and shouting, “Cheers man!” Unlike them, ordinary citizens seemed not to notice me at all. Their minds must have been preoccupied with the mortgages and loans which must be paid back, their careers, love problems, existential fears, sleep disorders, depressions, and other worries which attacked human beings from the moment they woke up in the morning. They had scarcely time for themselves, let alone for an anonymous refugee. As they rushed passed on both sides of me, I asked myself if I was going to become one of them—a tiny cog with a nice car in a garage and a home stuffed with gadgets, which would never make me happy.

    We had used up all our coal, and I took a scuttle and went down to the cellar to fetch more. My old acquaintance, the old peevish German from Romania stood beside a mound of black lumps, surveying the refugees who filled their scuttles with coal. When my turn came he croaked, “The young man is freezing. Germany is a cold country. Cold weather and cold people...” Anger was rising inside me, and I imagined shoving his head into the black mass, and hearing him pleading with me not to harm him. As soon as I came back in the room, a wave of melancholy swept over me. I lay down in my bunk and for the first time since I came in Germany, doubts arose in my mind. How was I going to live in these conditions for months, maybe years? Everything sickened me: the stench that followed me everywhere creeping through my clothes, and crawling into my nostrils, canteen with its white walls and plastic furniture and cutlery, toothpaste flecks on bathroom mirrors, dirty toilets, crying babies, nervous parents and irascible personnel. How could I have left my leafy orchard and lavish garden and ended up in this dirty hole? How could I have willingly run from Paradise and thrown myself into Hell? And now, as a punishment, instead of the chirping and twittering of birds, I had to listen to the croaking of the old petulant man.

    “Mate, you don’t feel well? What’s wrong?” Miroslav asked when he came in. I described for him what I felt, and he said, “Don’t rush. Now when you’ve come to this great country, you are free to do what you want. Be patient. Do you think I don’t have feelings? I’m longing for my parents and home, just as you do, but I know I have to be strong. Didn’t you have enough of communist propaganda and brainwashing?”
    His words reminded me of how I had been feeling before I ran way. I could not listen to the news or read a newspaper without growing angry. I was sick with agitprop, which indoctrinated citizens about the greatness of our country and its leader, who was still ruling the country beyond his grave. How could I have forgotten my yearning to live in a free world and talk with people without thinking if some of them were informers? How could I think of returning to the country where I was certainly going to suffer as before? The more I was pondering the more I was aware of the split within myself.
    TO BE CONTINUED

  1. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: On the run, part nine

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Would you please take a look at the ninth part of my short story and correct my mistakes?

    Back in the camp, the stench hit me like a heavy blow. How different was our world behind the fence to from the one outside. Germany was appealing and prosperous, but only for to those who had already established themselves or were going places. The refugees were at the bottom of the social ladder. One rung above them stood the alcoholics and homeless I saw in the park, holding onto their cans of beer and bottles (of wine) like a lifeline. They seemed to be living in another world, just as we did. Society seemed to be indifferent to them, but they reacted by ignoring society, its values, norms and conventions. They were the only people who spontaneously greeted me whenever they saw me, (by) raising their cans and bottles and shouting, “Cheers man!” Unlike them, ordinary citizens seemed not to notice me at all. Their minds must have been preoccupied with the mortgages and loans which must be paid back, their careers, love problems, existential fears, sleep disorders, depressions, and other worries which attacked human beings from the moment they woke up in the morning. They had scarcely time for themselves, let alone for an anonymous refugee. As they rushed passed past (on) both sides of me, I asked myself if I was going to become one of them—a tiny cog with a nice car in a the garage and a home stuffed with gadgets, which would never make me happy.

    We had used up all our coal, and I took a scuttle and went down to the cellar to fetch more. My old acquaintance, the old peevish German from Romania stood beside a mound of black lumps, surveying the refugees who filled their scuttles with coal. When my turn came he croaked, “The young man is freezing. Germany is a cold country. Cold weather and cold people...” Anger was rising inside me, and I imagined shoving his head into the black mass, and hearing him pleading with me not to harm him. As soon as I came back in the room, a wave of melancholy swept over me. I lay down in my bunk and for the first time since I came in Germany, doubts arose in my mind. How was I going to live in these conditions for months, maybe years? Everything sickened me: the stench that followed me everywhere creeping through my clothes, and crawling into my nostrils, the canteen with its white walls and plastic furniture and cutlery, the toothpaste flecks on bathroom mirrors, the dirty toilets, the crying babies, their nervous parents and the irascible personnel. How could I have left my leafy orchard and lavish garden and ended up in this dirty hole? How could I have willingly run from paradise and thrown myself into hell? And now, as a punishment, instead of the chirping and twittering of birds, I had to listen to the croaking of the old petulant man.

    “Mate, you don't feel well? What's wrong?” Miroslav asked when he came in. I described for him what I felt, and he said, “Don't rush. Now when that you've come to this great country, you are free to do what you want. Be patient. Do you think I don't have feelings? I'm longing for my parents and home, just as you do, but I know I have to be strong. Didn't you have enough of communist propaganda and brainwashing?”
    His words reminded me of how I had been feeling before I ran way. I could not listen to the news or read a newspaper without growing angry. I was sick with agitprop, which indoctrinated citizens about the greatness of our country and its leader, who was still ruling the country beyond his grave. How could I have forgotten my yearning to live in a free world and talk with people without thinking if some of them were informers? How could I think of returning to the country where I was certainly going to suffer as before? The more I was pondering pondered those questions, the more I was aware of the split within myself.
    TO BE CONTINUED
    .

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    #3

    Re: On the run, part nine

    lst para last line - shouldn't that be "a tiny cog in a nice car in the garage... (to show how insignificant you are)

    You described "the stench" as "creeping and crawling" into you. I guess they verbs are used figuratively but they are strange collocations.
    Last edited by tedmc; 01-Oct-2015 at 11:09.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: On the run, part nine

    tedmc,
    The sentence is as it should be. It means that you have become a cog, an anonymous person who can console yourself with your car and dozens of gadgets, which will never make you happy. It is a figurative sentence, which describes the reality of many people in capitalist society.

    Regarding "the stench as "creeping and crawling" it is also figurative. It is a stench which permeated everything and everybody, and which is impossible to wash away. It is a stench of thousands of people who live or have lived in the same place. Everyone has come with his worries, hopes and problems. The stench is a symbol of a refugee camp, which has no connection whatsoever with the outside world.

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