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9781466956391

The Bridge Between

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781466956391

  • ISBN10:

    1466956399

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-10-08
  • Publisher: Textstream
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Summary

The Bridge Between is a story told by Mickey, the main character. At first, he is a young boy growing up in the predominately Christian western side of Mostar, Yugoslavia. His young years are marked by childish naivety and happiness, mischief and first love. His grandfather introduces him to the magical history and the significance of the Old Bridge, which connects the two halves of the city. Mickey eventually falls in love with Leila, a Muslim girl from East Mostar. The two are separated as the war begins. Mickey is drafted and forced to watch as the city, the Old Bridge, and his whole world are torn apart.

Excerpts

Marshal Tito My story begins in 1982, the summer when I first felt love. I was twelve years old, and my voice was changing. My whole body was changing. With hormones running through the roof, I felt stronger and bigger than anyone, but I couldn't understand why my muscles weren't as big as my father's and why 350 push-ups a day didn't make them grow like my grandma's sweet cookies. In my hometown of Mostar, Yugoslavia, summer brings an exquisite array of life—all varieties of flowers and scents. Mostar was the unofficial capital of Herzegovina, a triangularly shaped region in the south of the Yugoslav republic of Bosnia. Herzegovina is a very small part of the European landscape, but it is one of the merging points between Eastern and Western cultures and religions. For a teenager full of hope and belief in a bright and endless future, this place where living history fused with modern times was the center of the universe. The city of Mostar is located inland, in the heart of Herzegovina, about a two-hour drive from the seacoast, but I could have sworn that I could smell the Adriatic on a windy day. Every time I saw a cedar, I was convinced that the sea was hiding right behind it. I don't know why, but the sight of the sea always meant that the summer was really beginning. It was usually a time when my family went off to vacation on one of the hidden gems of our coast. This particular summer, though, was different from all the previous ones. It was the first time I noticed girls. Yes, girls, those angelic and beautiful creatures my grandpa said one can't live without. This summer, somewhere in my heart, it all became magically entangled, the scents of roses and lilies with the sight of girls. For the first time, I noticed that girls—like fresh, ripe plums and apples in my orchard—had all blossomed. I thought that this would be a good year for both girls and apples. I had just finished my seventh grade of elementary school. We closed out every year with the cheers such as "So long, school, I never loved you anyway." Some of my mischievous classmates would start a fire, burn all the books, and skip over the flames. This was too radical for me, but I joined them and watched their shenanigans. A particularly crazy character was Goran. He was the strongest and the craziest kid in our class, the one who picked fights with kids from older classes. He also got into altercations with anyone in our neighborhood just to make sure he was the strongest. Most of the kids were afraid of him, but I wasn't. Back in third grade, we had gone as a class on a weeklong winter excursion. The main sleeping chamber had enough beds to accommodate all the boys in our class except for two, who had to be placed in an extra room. The teacher picked Goran to be one of the two—a natural choice given his ability to incite a fight or a shouting match with anyone else at any time. I think she wanted to have a full night's sleep without worrying about him. "Who will volunteer to stay with Goran in the separate room?" As she asked the question, everyone swallowed hard and looked down. For some reason—to this day, I don't know why—instead of looking down, I looked at Goran. It was the first time that I saw rejection and disappointment in his eyes. He's also just a kid, I thought. "Well, I don't have all day. Who will stay with him? Don't make me ask another time. If I do, everyone will have a written assignment due this very day."

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