.As time passed, his nostalgia for his homeland waned/started to wane
had waned,and he felt almost like a native. He had bought a comfortable two-room flat in a prosperous suburb and led a calm life. At weekends, he would often go hiking with his friends. Nature had gifted the country with breathtaking landscapes: large fjords, tall mountains, glaciers, and deep blue lakes. He felt as if he was walking in an old fairy tale which had turned into reality. It was almost unimaginable that such beauty could still exist on the planet which had seen so much suffering and destruction. How he wished to have Jasmine beside him on those wanderings! He would imagine her strolling againstunder the blue sky, her blond hair and her light, white dress fluttering in the breeze. He would be ready to follow her for hours and days and would never feel hunger or thirst.
The young man was not a fan of social media, but his friends insisted he join Facebook. Reluctantly, he created a Facebook account. He saw the icon for searching for people, clicked on it, and automatically typed in Jasmine in the search box. There were many Jasmines on the list, but suddenly he saw a picture of a woman with blond hair, and his heart leapt. He clicked again, and now he was looking at her large blue eyes. His hand trembled with excitement. Without reading the caption, he knew he had found her. Her hair was shorter than before, and her face had become rounder, but her beauty remained intact. His eyes fell on the caption, which said Jasmine Smith. “Smith! Married?” he shouted. And more pictures appeared: Jasmine holding a little girl about four years old in her arms; riding a black horse; in a skimpy swimsuit waving
waivingfrom thea white yacht; skiing ... etc. But his mood shifted to anger when he saw her holding hands with a middle-aged, bald-headed man who was old enough to be her father. He was shorter then she was, snub-nosed and overweight. Jasmine and Bill Smith, the caption said. The young man scrolled for more pictures and could hardly believe his eyes when he saw them squatting beside a killedlion which had been shot, holding rifles in their hands and smiling brightly. OnIn another picture, they were standing above a shot elk, with smug expressions on their faces.
The young man hated hunting and guns, especially after the war, and when he saw the couple beside those beautiful creatures which now were turned into
thelifeless objects/things, something broke inside him. Jasmine had posted a short account about her journey from her homeland just before the war broke out, and described her stay in Germany, and her arrival in the USA, but he could not read it to the end. “Greedy whore!” he shouted. “You’ve sold yourself out!” He hated her, and despised her more than the prison guards who tortured prisoners, and their leaders who manipulated the masses. He hated that fat American and his two large cars parked in front of his house which looked like a palace. Bill certainly sniggered whenever he went with his beautiful wife, aware of the envious looks of passersby and their spiteful comments. That fat man would be nothing with his money, but thanks to it, he was collecting trophies of all kinds and laughing at the whole world.
The young man slammed shut his laptop and rushed outside. It was a warm spring day, and he went to the nearby park, which was his favourite spot. The park was bordered on one side by woods and was often visited by wild animals such as foxes, hares and deer. He sat on a bench and watched a pair of squirrels chasing one another up and down an oak tree. Their carefree play alleviated his anger. He was still fuming, although he understood the irrationality of his behaviour. It was none of his business what other people did with their lives. Who was he to tell them who they should love and what kind of goals they should pursue? Maybe Jasmine was materialistic and shallow. But what kind of a man was he who had never dared (to) say a word to her? He needed (to see) a psychotherapist himself.
The young man sat engrossed in his thoughts when a man in his fifties in a grey tracksuit bottoms and a battered black leather jacket came up and sat on a bench nearby. The young man gave him furtive glances, and his mood turned sour. An alcoholic. A sponger. A by-product of the welfare state. The country was full of them. Of course, there were alcoholics in his homeland, but there, they had to work as anyone else and had to support their families. Here, they got everything for free, and still they were dissatisfied.
TO BE CONTINUED
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