Rent

You never go beyond the end of your street.

Yes I do.

You get the olives from the Palestinian guy in the corner shop and you occasionally go to the chicken shop for chips and gravy. You get your papers on the weekend. Milk.

That’s right. I get those things.

But you don’t get anything else. You don’t go anywhere else.

I’m so close to the train here I can go anywhere. I can walk into the city. I walked to work once. It took quite a while, but it was OK. I’ve been meaning to do that again. I’m getting a bit fat.

So you’ve done a couple of safe things once or twice. That’s not taking advantage of your location.

I’m not sure what you mean.

I mean you say the reason you live here is because it’s so central, but you never do anything to justify needing that centrality.

The journey to work is short. I appreciate that.

Fine. But there are places where you aren’t surrounded by drug dealers and car stealers which are also close to your work.

It’s not all drugs and crime.

Most of it is. You were telling me about the men who piss on next door’s driveway earlier.

Which isn’t a crime.

No, it isn’t a crime. But it’s pretty unpleasant. And there have been people collapsing on your doorstep. And they’ve tried to take your car, a couple of times, once with you in it.

Yeah, well, you need to be careful round that area near the station.

There is crime. There are problems.

It’s bohemian.

It’s overpriced, is what it is. It’s still basically a slum. Or it’s on the edge of a slum. But they charge as though you’re in a mansion, as though you had room for a dining table. When it’s not a mansion and you don’t have a dining table.

But I love it here. Felix loves it.

Felix would love it anywhere. Cats are happy if their human mummies are happy.

I feel like there’s freedom here. Like I’m not being judged.

That’s just a feeling. And it’s a stupid feeling. The landlord has his hand in your wallet and you feel grateful for the experience.

I can afford it. And I like the way the house is furnished. My stuff looks really good here.

You’d be able to buy better stuff if you weren’t having your pocket picked once a month.

There’s that boy across the road. I like him. We say hello when we see each other now. I think he likes me too.

There are men in other suburbs. Seriously, you aren’t implying that it’s OK to live in a house which is full of character, and we all know what that means, surrounded by crime, and paying a ludicrous rent, just because there’s a really cute guy who lives nearby. Are you?

A bit.

No, you’re not.

No, I’m not. He is nice though. And I don’t use the word cute. Not about men anyway.

But you call them boys sometimes.

Sometimes. Yeah.

So you’re here because you like the idea of being in the city.

I don’t just like the idea. I like being in the city. I do all sorts of city things that you don’t know about. My social life doesn’t revolve around you, you know.

But this isn’t the city.

Yeah, it is.

It’s near the city. You’ve never been to a department store. I bet you don’t even know where they are. They’re certainly a long way away from this row of falling down town houses.

Department stores? Big deal. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

What I’m talking about is that you know nothing about the city. You knew nothing about it when we were at boarding school and then you moved here and you’ve gradually moved closer and closer to the city, paying more and more each time, and now you are in the inner suburbs, not the city, and you still know nothing about the city.

You’re an expert then. What do you know about it?

More than you.

No you don’t. The only time you’d been to the city was on a music camp when you were twelve or something and then a year or so later when we went on that big trip, the whole form, and we went to Australia’s Wonderland that day.

And you spewed in a packet of Clinkers.

Yeah.

You did. Didn’t you? You did! That was funny. Must have been so embarrassing for you.

I think you’re forgetting something.

What?

You pooed your pants that day. We’d just met Jonno and Deano and the other Frencham boys as well. I think that was worse.

Yeah, it was.

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Published in: on June 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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