We waited at the bus stop across the road from our grandparents’ house. It had been their home for more than fifty years, but now unfamiliar cars were in the driveway, a new, solid picket fence had been installed, and strangers were living there. It was a melancholy feeling to no longer be able to walk up to it and step inside. The new fence gleamed in the lights from passing cars, and I imagined it as a row of teeth, keeping me from trespassing back to my past. The road had been quiet for a while before the bus appeared, surprisingly big and bright. I pressed some coins into Fiona’s hand and waved as the bus drew away with her inside.
Although it was dark, the clouds still retained a tinge of the sunset. I looked up at them as I crunched over the sticks and leaves on the path home. There was no one else out walking, as there never is at night, and all around me I could hear the creaking of the brown frogs that start up every evening. I felt big and old. Every one of my steps thumped down with a lifetime of weight to it as I thought about how my life has centred around these streets. My grandparents’ house was once the nucleus. The house I spent all my teenage years used to be a few minutes walk away from it. Now, a huge home with columns out the front has replaced it. One day after our little old house was demolished, I went and stood on the pile of earth where it had been. The block of land seemed too small for all the life it had contained, and at the time I felt like my memories had been blown away like powder.
As I walked away from the main road the street darkened, and I imagined all the spiders busy spinning webs in my path. It is a place of gardens and creatures, this suburb, and in this cool night I felt love for it. This is the place I return to, but for most people it is somewhere they would probably never visit even if they had heard of it. Whenever I am back here I forget that this suburb is attached to anywhere else. Calling Simon back at our house on the other side of the city I imagine the phone line stretching for thousands of kilometres, under seas, to another land entirely.