As the curtain closes on Steve Braunias' connection to the street he has lived on for years, he reflects on the changes
She was an old lady who lived alone in the house near the corner of our street. I saw her sometimes through the curtains, sitting by herself, looking frail and ghostly. A caregiver visited in a green sportscar.
I never saw her outside or knew her name or anything about her. The real estate signs advised it was a deceased estate.
The man who lived on the corner was a school caretaker who died of cancer. He was opposite a woman who lost her son when he was with friends who stole a car and drove it into a lamp-post. A young couple bought on the street, broke up, and sold up. There was a drug house, a Catholic family, a nurse, a professor, a man who kept lizards.
I walked my daughter to school and walked her home at 3pm. We played a game called The Saga – a story told in daily instalments, set in jails, desert islands, and the past. We each took turns, making it up as we walked along. These were among the happiest years of my life.
Four townhouses were developed. It was the first appearance of high-density housing on the street. Apart from the white people, the artist's impression is pretty accurate of the way things turned out.
Another six houses have sold in my neighbourhood these past few months. Most
of them are empty. Developers are waiting to get their ducks in a row before
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they put up new townhouses. In the meantime, the lawns and gardens have gone
back to nature; briefly, thrillingly, it's like walking around a wilderness,
a zone of silence.
Anyway, my new place has harbour views.