The following is an extract from Going Home, a short story by A.P. Grozdanovic, that is available on Amazon Kindle…
The message had been straight-forward, ‘Zdravo. Prošlo je dugo vremena.’ – Hello. It’s been a long time. That’s how easy it is to connect these days. Someone you haven’t spoken to for decades can come straight into your home and metaphorically shake you by the hand.
Pero Saric had only joined the social network revolution to promote his business. He had been reluctant to take part in the continuing craze for social media. More fearful of the unknown than excited by the possible. But he had been convinced by the staff, who had said it was too easy an opportunity to raise the profile of the elderly care home he owned. He had relented and signed up. If it made the staff of Easy Living Care Home happy, it was okay by him.
Families, friends and God-knows who, had liked or followed the Profile Page within days. The staff, overseeing the pages for him, were pleased with the response. They had advertised the annual fête the Home was hosting and within hours lots of people had committed to attend and contribute items for sale. The pages had cost nothing to set up and they were paying dividends almost immediately.
Up to the day of the fete the staff had been working long hours to get the place ready. Pero had recognised this, filled in where necessary, and let them finish early where possible. He’d try to make it up to the staff at bonus time. But his attention had been taken away from their efforts and the fête itself on that very morning. Having picked his morning coffee and toast up from the kitchen he settled at his desk to plan for the day ahead. He always started with the days physical correspondence, then incoming email. He had now added the social media aspect of the work to this morning routine and as he was going through his online content, he had noticed the message from Selma Sokolovic. He had neither seen nor heard from Selma, the only girlfriend he’d ever really known, in over twenty-five years. She still lived in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia Herzegovina, formerly part of the Yugoslav Republic – Pero’s birthplace.
Pero had tried to suppress his feelings for his homeland since the Balkan War of the early nineties. The death and destruction, especially the siege of Sarajevo which lasted from 1992 to 1996, bit into Pero’s heart deeply. He’d watched on the news daily how his countrymen had killed neighbours and seized land. His former country had now split into six independent republics. Never had Europe witnessed so much barbarity since the Second World War.
At first, he didn’t know whether to answer or simply ignore the communication. What on earth could Selma want after all these years? He clicked on her profile. Nothing was hidden. Her photos and friends’ list, some of whom he vaguely recognised, were all visible. His staff had told him that it was important for personal social media sites to maintain a sensible security level. The business page didn’t need the same level of filter as they desired visibility. Selma, it appeared, was a little cavalier with her online activities status. Anyone could open her page and see where she had been and who were her friends.
The weeks passed, and then out of the blue, Pero received another message. Again, it was a simple opening line, but this time in English:
‘How are you?’
Pero still didn’t know whether to respond or not. Over lunch he had mentioned this second message to the staff. To a person, they sat bolt upright.
‘Of course you should respond,’ said Gail.
‘What have you got to lose,’ demanded Jane, crunching through a slice of toast.
He had no response to their enthusiasm. What could he lose? He concluded, absolutely nothing.
To read more of Going Home visit: