I stood upon the lawn, doing what blokes occasionally do, and looked. The fence was not. Clearly not. The people on the far side of the boundary where the fence was not, were sitting – mr bald head & ms blond hair – door to the pantry open, shine from a multitude of halogen lights to the black, cream and white surfaces – all visible through their darkened window, so light and visible to me. The neighbours I have rarely seen and have barely understanding of – other than the time they asked for a contact to the landlord’s agent so we could discuss the fence – and the music during parties … and that they have a noisy air conditioner … but other than this, no understanding.
I have a image – of months earlier some time ago when winter gripped my soul with soot and grey miasma I came back from my walkings to find the fence suddenly stood between us shattered. I have the belief a 12 year old pudgy child ran through it, ineffectually climbing before pushing through, more likely it was an adult seeking to flee the police – I have no evidence of either but the fence clearly had partially exploded and I have no idea why it is that I came home to a gaping broken smile of a fence separating me from the rear house
Now I see the house in a rude manner – the people inside are stylish – greatly – the home is polished, spacious, high roof ceilings, tall panes of glass, and the house had these people in it, who I do not know, with their backs to the wall, the transparent wall, the window I looked through – and they had no privacy – no care for privacy – I stand there – on my lawn with no care for my privacy and have these thoughts of them. I think, is this how they live their lives with a fence in place – with openings showing their house internally eviscerated to the darkened world. Why are there not curtains? I remember being asked to draw the curtains often on the remote farm house, presumably to hide from the neighbours who lived so long ago, so far far away, and so remotely, protected from our house by the windows being so drawn. Soiled fly spotted white lace things, long thrown away. Gauze. Just thick enough to hide the black panes of night from our loungeroom and the cattleyards to the west..
I hitched up my belt, and withdrew back to the loungeroom, thinking about how I felt as though I had seen something I should not have – the insides of a household from the absence of a fence. The fence that will be there tomorrow, and was not there tonight, and was blocked clumsily by lumber and a ladder and other crap yesterday. The broken fence that was torn down, disposed of, and is now lost to any more practical use. A slightly illicit view.
They lived their life, in their big polished house, living inside not seeing the vastly black windows showing the lawn, and where was the privacy – the illusion of black windows uncurtained.
incongruous. Odd. In private. Entirely dependant on the fence. Suburban Lives.