It’s real here. Inner city. Urban and gritty. In-your-face. Not like where you grew up where the green lawns were mowed every four weeks and glassy-eyed mums and dads with their automatic smiles waved as you rode your bike up the street. The family home was once so untouchable and innocent. Now you drive past the street and it looks sinister and lonely. The trees that used to frame the sky have been knocked down to make way for extensions and subdivisions. There’s too much sky. It’s trying to open up the worlds hidden in the houses beneath. Except the doors stay firmly shut. There’s one house nearby that you knew well. The parents that once lived there are divorced. Never saw it coming you say. They were such a close family. The kids, grown-up and in their thirties, are just as fucked up as you. Except they see psychologists. You just sucked it up. That’s the X generation, you say. Fucked up and over it.
And another house you pass – you knew the daughters. Went to your high school. And then their Dad took a shotgun to two of the daughters and himself. The youngest one hid in the closest. She heard it all. The screams, the shots ring out, and then, the silence. You wonder what she’s doing now. She has a right to be fucked up. The neighbours all cried shock, of course. Not here. Not in this pristine place. It’s the suburbs. The suburbs are safe. But it was there all along. Hidden by the green lawns and coloured streamers trailing in the wind as kids rode their bikes.
So you live where it’s real. There’s the chance of a stabbing. Wheelie bin murder if you live in the right (or wrong) street. On the edge but you can see and feel the crime. And you feel safe.
© running with the beagle 2010