Monthly Archives: October 2014

THE BOYS NEXT DOOR

The picture came from http://panosdragonas.net/

She lived in a two-stories house with a big garden in the back. The house, though downtown, was privileged to be located at the junction of two very quiet pedestrian streets. The garden was a place of soft serenity.

She was an architect, single, had recently celebrated her 45th birthday. She considered herself open-minded and had many proofs of the fact. In the past few years, she had invented a new career for herself: designing and selling houses in SimCity.

Many would make fun of her career but, truth be told, she earned more than most of her colleagues. Spending majority of her time in the SimCity was not an issue. It was how she foresaw this new career. Seated for hours in front of a PC she kind of missed the time spent in the garden that unintendedly grew into a patch of fenced wilderness.

Right next to hers was another house of the same size and age. This one, abandoned by owners a decade earlier, had been occupied by homeless immigrants. It was a common occurrence in this neighborhood that was full of old, empty houses laying in proximity of the city center.

The police went after the illegal incumbents every now and then. Most of the time, the immigrants would disappear in time and the police would try to close off the old houses by adding extra locks onto their doors. But the house next door was special.

First of all it was really big: two stories of approximately ninety square meters each. This meant it could accommodate a big number of inhabitants. Second, it was in really good shape. The roof was still in place, as was the floor and the windows even had glass. It was too good to be true for the penniless, homeless immigrants.

As a result the occupiers wouldn’t give up on it easily. First, the police added a couple of locks – it was easy to brake them. Next, they installed a wall in front of the main entrance and added a metal fence, making it really hard to jump into the front patio. Then they walled all windows on the ground level. Whatever the measure, the immigrants found a way to return to the privileged house.

At one point, the only way to the house was through the adjacent garden. Her garden.

From her living-room window, from her own little desk where she designed her digital villas, she witnessed all the coming and going through her garden. Dozens of them, a dozen times a day. All these young men, from the heart of Asia, from the south coasts of the Mediterranean, who suffered to reach her country hoping for a better future now suffered to enter their house, having to cross her piece of land and two sharp-edged fences.

She was afraid to stay out during the night. She double-checked her windows’ locks. But still, she refused to find a solution through the police. She thought there would be another way around the issue.

She didn’t last long. The new tenants, a gay couple in their late thirties, reinforced the fence as soon as they moved in. It became impossible to jump into the garden from the pedestrian street.

The house next door remains empty since. It’s now a piece of street art. Modern graffiti cover the facade. You can’t even tell where exactly the windows or the door stood.

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