Demolition Site

Sunday has been grey and rainy. It feels as if seasons have stopped for the weekend. All the strewn items from the room I have  collected and rolled up in the orange Mexican rug. I think I will wrap the bundle into that large piece of sailcloth which I picked up on the demolition site a couple of days ago. The whole place had been hoarded in and there was a giant coloured board which advertised the fancy name of the redevelopment area. When I entered the site it rather looked like a war field with all those heaps of rubble. Slowly adjusting to the sight of piled-up building waste I was able to recognize single objects. I saw splintered doors and timber, insulation, fixtures and fittings, all that material stuff which had been removed from the multi-storied houses. Only the bare, rectangular structures were left to tell a coherent story of the former neighbourhood. In a leaflet of the demolition company which I had found in the empty house next door they explain to you that demolishing a house is undertaken in the reverse way as building it. That had made me think of an undertaker and that dying started deep inside, too. First, the intestines like the  toilets, the  kitchen sinks and heatings are  stripped out, then the veins with air-conditioning, pipework and conduit are drained and then the facades are cleared of any ornament. I kept wandering for some time until I lost direction and felt sick. Still, I couldn’t stop  looking at the messiness of past living.

When I somehow got back I lay on the mattress and imagined the neat white lines of the new houses. They say they are affordable and will better suit the needs of the community. I like the idea of something neat and regular and inexpensive. Blow-up day is announced for next Sunday and as I live next to the demolition area and in an exclusion area which will be evacuated, it is better to leave in time. I think of the Asian-looking girl and feel sorry for her. We had met Saturday afternoon and I had told her what I knew about the barmen. I had apologized and admitted that I didn’t like beehive hairdos, all that messy teasing of the hair, the sticky feel of hairspray and the scary idea of bugs nestling inside. Again time gave way and a space opened up between us. I saw that she stepped back, behind the line of the blue and white wall. She smiled at me  and said: “I will stay here and I will survive all my messy Saturdays. But today, let’s skip Saturday night.” She looked sweet with her two neat partings, in her low-waist, grey chillers and the white T-shirt.

I am peering at her kitchen balcony through my binoculars. First I see her caged in behind the French window. Then she is stepping onto her small, brand-new balcony which faces the run-down yard and the line of empty houses opposite, on the other side of the canal. She puts an empty vase on the table and takes a soft-drink bottle from the brown plastic carton under the table. The carton has a neon logo but I cannot detect which brand it is. I try to follow her movements in the kitchen after she has closed the door again. There is something yellow in the left corner of the balcony which looks like a cleaning rug. I get bored and put down the binoculars. I am leaving now.







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s