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Kurs: - Intermediate

Modul: Past Continuous Tense

Autor: prof. Gordana Matorkić

Naziv jedinice: Happiness

Materijali vezani uz ovu lekciju:

- Test happiness




It was a quiet, shady street, on a Sunday afternoon. A few people were walking on the street, under the trees, and some children were playing in an empty park. I was standing under a tree waiting for my sister to come and pick me up. We were supposed to go to the cinema that night and the day before we had agreed to meet in the park.

I arrived almost an hour earlier and sat on an empty bench. It was an old bench and the paint had already faded completely. I opened the newspapers I had brought with me. I barely managed to open them, when suddenly an old man appeared in front of me and asked me politely:

“Is this seat taken?”

I felt uncomfortable but couldn’t say anything, so I just picked my bag, put it in my lap, and mumbled: “No, of course not.”

He said: “Thank you”, and sat on the bench as I went on staring at the newspapers pretending to read.

The truth was that I wasn’t able to concentrate because of his presence.

He finally spoke: “Would you call yourself a happy person?”

I was so surprised by the question that I couldn’t react, so I said nothing and pretended I hadn’t heard him. I thought to myself he was one of those strange, old, lonely people who didn’t have anything to do at home and was always looking for a victim to start a conversation with. He was quiet for a minute or two, but then he repeated his question.

I was already annoyed with the man and turned to tell him not to bother me anymore when I saw his eyes sparkling with some mysterious light I’d never seen before. I immediately felt calmer. A strong wish to send him away from me suddenly became meaningless and I found myself answering the question:

“Yes, I would. Why do you want to know?”

Instead of an answer he handed me a couple of photos. I was absolutely shocked when I saw what was on them. All were taken on a cemetery and they were full of gravestones. Each stone had the name of the dead person and two years engraved in it. I remember one 1879-1883 and the other 1975-1976. The rest I can’t remember but what I do remember is that the year of birth and the year of death were close on each of them. I was stunned and terrified and only managed to stutter:

“Is this a children’s cemetery?”

“No,” he smiled, “you see, the pictures were taken at some village in South Asia. They have a custom there not to put the dates of birth and death on their gravestones, but to engrave the years during which they felt happy. That’s when they count their lives started and ended.” He smiled at me again, stood up and left.

I sat motionless for some time and then finally saw my sister coming. She was waving at me and I waved back.


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