For six months, I had been living in a 2-room porch flat in the R-hood. Social housing, almost the whole row was built in the same, attractive brick style from the early 20th century. Unfortunately, we looked out on a monstrosity from the 1980s, with ugly steel balconies in white and grey, the apartments of which were also extremely expensive to rent, some as much as 3x as ours. It was probably bigger inside, otherwise they only paid more for a better view. Sometimes I wished they had mirrored windows, so we could still see some of ourselves.
So musing I looked out the window early one morning. Normally I never looked out the window on that side so early. Way too boring. I preferred looking at the neighbours' back gardens. Trees, birds, the occasional windblown cat. But now I was awake so early that I suddenly looked out the front window. Across the street was a group of men waiting. Half were wearing dark green jackets. Two were a bit older, stood out by their more formal attire, and something that looked like a briefcase.
At first I thought they were waiting for a shuttle bus to take them to some company in a distant business park. Shift work. Landscaping. But it seemed like a somewhat strange pick-up point. Maybe they worked for a moving company?
Suddenly a few of them perked up. From the left came a community police officer, accompanied by a young blonde lady. They had a good pace, and no doubt the woman apologized for the traffic jams when she shook hands with all the men.
These were not men for the usual relocating: someone would be evicted from his or her home. Neighborhood police officer, assistant public prosecutor, a bailiff, and yes, one of the green-jacketed men came running with a toolbox.
Of course I hoped, and everyone who lived on this side of the street with me, I'm sure, that one of the wealthy neighbours across the street had stopped paying his bills. But no.
A short time later, carpets and a half-rotten kitchen lay in the street. In no time the clean-up crew was gone.
In the afternoon, while I was cleaning my windows, a young police officer and an old, somewhat shabbily dressed man walked by. His gaze was stuck somewhere between disbelief, anger and resignation in a grimace stiffened with raised eyebrows. His shoulders hung just about to his knees. They entered the house, and I wondered what suffering was taking place behind that front door, behind all the front doors, without anyone outside knowing.
Across the street, a young mother rocked her newborn to sleep, gazing into the distance.
In the backyards, birds twittered. Spring was coming. Time to build a nest.
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