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Eternal Return

October 23, 2011

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.

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