Student or Learner
Would you please correct my mistakes in the eleventh part of my short story?
The family sat in their nice, spacious flat and cried - cried over the killed people they had known for years. They had been in school with them, and then, when they grew up, they worked together, had a great time on holidays, chatted in the cafes and pubs, and greeted them almost daily in the streets. They cried over their hometown, which once was such a beautiful place to live, but nowadays it morphed into a slaughterhouse; cried over their homeland to which they would probably never come back. But when their tears dried, they shoved their memories aside and turned towards reality. They went to school and learned the new language, which was difficult, and made their tongues and lips roll, twist, and curl in all directions. The young man vowed to become fluent in the shortest possible time. In the morning, he was in his language class, soaking up every word his teacher pronounced, and in the afternoon, he sat at his desk, looking up words in his dictionary, writing them down in his notebook and doing grammar exercises. When he looked up at the window, he could see mostly the bland whiteness of the snow broken by a few cars and passersby swaddled in thick clothes. Occasionally, the sun would pop up like a shy, pale ball, and after a short time, it would melt away behind the thick, leaden clouds.
When he arrived here, he could not understand why people drank so much, despite the exorbitant prices they had to pay for alcoholic drinks, but gradually, he understood that alcohol was their only escape from reality. Without it, many would have probably committed suicide. The country was enormously rich, owing to its reserves of gas and oil, deep under the sea, but all that wealth could not make its citizens happy. It dawned on him that it was not only compassion which led the government to give the refugees shelter, but also sheer pragmatism. The population was dwindling, and the solution was to allow refugees to come and settle in this cold environment, where they would procreate and boost economy. After all, desperate people are not hard to please.
Three years later, the young man started to study psychology. He wanted to learn what was behind human behaviour, what were the powers which made human beings so evil and lead them astray, and above all, he wanted learn about himself and his feelings. His enrolment at university was a feat which made him enormously proud of himself. While many of his compatriots still struggled with the basics of the language, he spoke it almost without an accent. His classmates did not hide their admiration, although he sensed a tinge of envy behind their pleasantries. They had grown up in affluence and comfort, and probably saw him as a pushy foreigner from a poor country eager to make a career and earn money. They did not know much about what he had gone through. He kept mostly silent about his experiences because he saw that the natives were not used to such horrors. Whenever he started to tell them about the prison camp and atrocities, they would usually wince and squirm as if in pain, and they would apologise and leave in haste. It was like a slap in his face, although he could not blame them. In their beautiful world, there was no place for such gruesome stories.
In his class, the majority of students were women - tall, long-legged, with slim bodies as made to be kissed and hugged. They flirted with him, gave him long stares with their sparkling eyes, batted their lashes, and asked him if he had a girlfriend. He ignored them. There was room for only one woman in his heart. Furthermore, he found them vacuous. He could not understand how they could discuss such trivial things like handbags or shoes for hours, and gossip endlessly about other women. They would be his colleagues psychologists in a few years, but if he were a patient, he would not like to be treated by them. Once in a cafeteria, he overheard them talking about him. Someone called him a gay. Another voice said that all immigrants were mad. And the third added, “Barbarians, they don’t respect women.” Anger rose inside him, and he fought with himself not to walk over to their table and shout, “You stupid, spoilt cows! What do you know about love?” But he managed to keep a poker face and sipped his coffee quietly.
TO BE CONTINUED