8 March 2009

The people in the flats opposite were ghosts, not in the sense that they were dead but in so far they were dispossessed, desperately unhappy and restless, held fast in the grip of tragic events that had befallen them long ago. Each morning you could see the grandfather make his way slowly, a zimmerframe slalom past the melted litter bins to the bench in the bitter quadrangle between the buildings, the mother staring out at him from the balcony, imprisoned by its security bars, blowing cigarette  smoke to the air, and each evening you could see the kids riding their imitation mountain bikes on the strip of bare mud and grass outside, as the older kids sat listless in the concrete stairwell. Chiefly though, they were ghosts perhaps in the sense that the rest of the living wanted nothing more to do with them. No one called or acknowledged them, and on the street no ones eyes met theirs.