Student or Learner
Would you please correct my mistakes in the fifth part of my short story?
Hannah wrote a few sentences, and then, her concentration drifted off. She returned to her room and looked out the window. The boys had gone. She lingered for a moment, breathed deeply and walked outside to assess the damage. A wave of nostalgia came over her as she thought about the old neighbours. They had departed and with them her peace and calm. She held the delicate, crushed petals in her palm and was close to tears. She looked up and saw the Arab woman coming out of the house with a laundry basket. “Hello,” she said. Hannah answered her greeting, and watched the woman putting up the laundry on the line between the two trees. She fought with herself to overcome her fear. She did not wish to offend the woman, embarrass her, or make her angry, but she had to tell her what her child had done.
“Excuse me,” her voice was quivering.
“Yes!” The woman turned towards her and walked close to the fence. She was short and somewhat plump. Her black eyes watched Hannah intently.
“Please don’t misunderstand me... I have also children...” She faltered. “One of your sons jumped over to retrieve the ball and crushed my flowers. Could you please tell them to be more cautious?”
The woman looked down at the flowers, and after a few moments said, “I’m really sorry. If they’d done the same thing to me, I’d be furious. But I promise you, it’ll not happen again.” She suddenly turned around and marched back into the house. Soon, Hannah heard a cacophony of loud voices, and then, the lanky boy came out alone, walked up to her, and looking at the ground said, “I’m so sorry. I haven’t done it intentionally.”
“It’s all right. Just a few flowers. I’m going to plant some new.”
His shoulders slumped, his head hanging, the boy shuffled back into the house. Hannah felt sorry for him, and at the same time, an immense relief swept over her. She was not a coward and could stand up for herself. The new neighbours did not disappoint her. They spoke Swedish with a strong accent, which grated on her ears, but they apologised. They talked to each other as civilised people, as neighbours should do.
“Good afternoon,” the next-door neighbour said when Thorsten opened the door. The man was stocky and balding, with a few days’ stubble on his face. His muscles bulged under his white T-shirt. He held out his hand and Thorsten shook his hand.
“Excuse me for disturbing you. My name is Fadil, your new neighbour. ¨We’ll have a housewarming party tomorrow. I’d like to apology in advance for the noise and any inconvenience we may cause. By the way, your family is also welcome.”
“It’s all right.” Thorsten gave him a friendly smile. “It’s not every day you move to a new home. Thank you for your kind invitation, but we can’t come. We have already decided to visit my parents tomorrow.”
“No problem.” Fadil said with a bright smile. Our parents must always come first.”
Later, Thorsten told his wife about the conversation with Fadil, and she shouted, “No way am I going to their party! If we visit them once, they’ll be here the next day, and the day after, and we’ll never get rid of them without risking a quarrel. We’ll do as you told him, and we’ll visit your parents.”
“I don’t like to lie,” Thorsten said. “They’ll think we don’t like them.”
Hannah shook her head. “They can think what they want. They have certainly lived long enough in this country to understand that neighbours don’t socialise here like in other countries.”
In the morning, they got into the car and drove off. They needed about two hours to reach the village where Thorsten’s parents lived. They were old, but spry and in good health, and liked to spend a lot of time outdoors. After lunch, they all went for a long walk. The surroundings were quiet and beautiful. A few cows lay in the field chewing their cud, and a couple of horses nibbled at the grass in a paddock. Cats dozed on porches and windowsills and ignored passersby. Neither refugees nor emigrants could be seen around, and the place was like an oasis of peace and calm. Here, people mostly kept themselves to themselves and did not nose into other people’s business. But they were willing to help whenever asked, and they respected each other greatly. In this little village, you could still leave your front door or your bicycle unlocked without fear of burglary or theft. In Stockholm, that would be unthinkable and unwise.
TO BE CONTINUED