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    #1

    A GIRL IN A WHITE DRESS Part One

    Would you please correct the mistakes in my short story?

    A few years after I came to Sweden as a refugee, I was on the verge of suicide. I had reached a dead end from which I saw no way out. The pain I felt was destroying me from inside, hurting me from the moment I opened my eyes in the morning until I went to sleep. I had seen many doctors who talked to me week after week and gave me all kinds of pills, but to no avail. Of course, a doctor needs to diagnose an illness to help you, but I was beyond help. My depression couldn’t be cured with some miraculous pills or therapies because the cause of it was deep inside me and resisted modern medicine. I knew it would be cured only by death. I watched passively my steep decline, unable to change my fate. From a man who liked to talk to everyone and make jokes, I was gradually turning into a misanthropist who preferred to be alone and wasn’t interested in anyone. I couldn’t stand my fellow countrymen who were mostly interested in succeeding in Sweden and getting rich. They quickly climbed the career ladders and became doctors, dentists, teachers, engineers, IT specialists and politicians. They had arrived around the same time as I did, but now a large gap stood between us. They drove around in expensive cars, which they had bought on credit, and they moved to comfortable flats, also bought on credit. They were constantly in hurry and didn’t have time to waste socialising with people who could offer them nothing.

    If I met them on the street, they would tell me about their purchases, travels and ambitious plans for the future. Three minutes later, they were gone, rushing to earn more money, which would enable them to fulfil all their dreams. I was so downcast that their stories left me unaffected. I couldnÂ’t feel envy because I knew that behind all those travels and money they splashed on different things lay a vast emptiness. But I had no right to judge them and couldn’t blame them. They had heard many times they lived in a utopia, where, according to the government, everything was possible, and there were no limits to your aspirations and wishes. You only needed to work and pay your taxes and the state would take care of the rest.

    I was in a different situation. Already early retired in my thirties, I had to live frugally and think twice before spending my money. My financial status was just above those on welfare. The only difference between us was that I regularly got the money in my bank account once a month and nobody was demanding from me anything, while they had to fill in their applications every month and submit all the bills, otherwise they wouldn’t get any benefits. It was demeaning, especially for the refugees who had once held high-paid jobs in their countries but now because of their age, ill health or the lack of language skills were unable to work. I knew my place and behaved accordingly. I couldn’t eat out, go to concerts, theatre or on holidays. But even if I had a lot of money, I wouldn’t have any use of it. I would be miserable whenever I went. I would be thinking of death and suicide on sand beaches on Bali, in front of the Eiffel Tower, on the slopes of the Alps or on a luxury cruiser in fabulous Norway fjords.

    My fall began the moment I disembarked from a ferry onto the Swedish soil and felt the cold wind piecing through my clothes and giving me goose pimples. Where did I end up? I asked myself. What kind of country is this when I in summer had to wear winter clothes? I remembered the stroll I took through the residential part of the town. I walked street after street without meeting anyone. Parents were working, children were at schools or romping in nurseries, pensioners were socialising in their clubs, old people taken care in the old people’s homes and dogs in boarding kennels. The streets lay clinically clean, the lawns and hedges were perfectly trimmed. The houses were of the same size and their facades of the same colour. But this perfection didn’t make my heart beat with pleasure; it knotted my stomach with anxiety. Everything looked well-ordered from outside but lacked warmth and life. This was like a film set, built according to the wishes of a film director with the aim to give an illusion of reality. People who lived there probably loved their homes and were satisfied with their neighbours, who they mostly avoided, but I hated uniformity. It was clear to me already on that stroll that those in power in this country were not interested in feelings of their people but their control at any price. Uniformity creates not only monotony but also conformism and expediency.
    TO BE CONTINUED
    Last edited by Bassim; 25-Feb-2020 at 21:15.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: A GIRL IN A WHITE DRESS Part One

    I suggest:

    The pain I felt was destroying me from the inside, hurting me from the moment I opened my eyes in the morning until I went to bed at night.

    See how the two phrases go together? (I forget what it's called. I forget more every day. )
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  3. VIP Member
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    #3

    Re: A GIRL IN A WHITE DRESS Part One

    Tarheel,

    Is it called parallelism, or am I wrong?

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: A GIRL IN A WHITE DRESS Part One

    Try:

    I watched passively as my health declined ....

    Or:

    I watched passively as everything in my life went on a steep decline.

    Or something like that.
    Last edited by Tarheel; 28-Feb-2020 at 18:44.
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  5. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: A GIRL IN A WHITE DRESS Part One

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Tarheel,

    Is it called parallelism, or am I wrong?
    No, you're not wrong. (At least that's what comes to mind. (I forget more every day.))
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  6. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: A GIRL IN A WHITE DRESS Part One

    I suggest:

    They quickly climbed their career ladders ....

    And:

    constantly in a hurry
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  7. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: A GIRL IN A WHITE DRESS Part One

    Second paragraph. Perhaps:

    According to the government, everything was possible, and there were no limits to what you could achieve.
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  8. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: A GIRL IN A WHITE DRESS Part One

    Next paragraph. Say:

    Already retired in my thirties ....

    I'm certain you don't need "early" there.

    And:

    nobody was demanding anything from me
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  9. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: A GIRL IN A WHITE DRESS Part One

    Third paragraph. Perhaps:

    I couldn't eat out, go to the theatre, or to concerts. I would be miserable wherever I went. I would be having morbid thoughts of suicide on sandy beaches in Bali, in front of the Eiffel Tower, on the slopes of the Alps, or on a luxury liner touring fabulous Norway fjords.
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  10. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: A GIRL IN A WHITE DRESS Part One

    Next (fourth) paragraph. Say:

    My fall began the moment I got off the ferry and stepped onto Swedish soil and felt the cold wind piercing my clothes and giving me goose pimples.

    Hm. I'm not using copy and paste but depending on my faulty memory. But I rather like the changes. (The word "disembarked" seems terribly formal, but maybe that's just me.)
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