The man who lives next door is tall, straight and young, a giant who gives away chickens from his front window. The chickens have strong guts and he will pay you to take more than one. His garden smells fresh and bright. He’s the kind of person that nobody remembers or recognises. When he walks around he’s unencumbered and barely dressed. I go up the street to get away from him because I don’t want him to know we live here. He doesn’t follow me, but if he did, he would only say something kind.
Our houses are pressed up close together. He is very protective of the narrow space between them and won’t let anyone use it. It’s made of bones and dry soil. One day soon there will be old horses left to die in the gap and we will look away while they silently slump to the ground.
I never saw our neighbour leave, but they say he rose up. In your youth you rise up, instead of simply rising. A long time after that, he gave birth. We heard about it beforehand. Two small girls came out of the house and began to destroy it. Of the two girls, there is a generous one and a sociopathic one. The generous one wants to open up the gap between our houses and give it away to the elderly. The sociopath wants to smash up the house and live somewhere else.
Early this year the girls purchased a whole lot of new stuff to fill the empty space where the house used to be, and had it delivered. Half the town stayed away, not wanting to rifle through the man’s new things. I was not surprised to find that he hated anything beautiful and I was happy to see all his concrete blocks were going to be polished to a shine. I gave him a table, a raincoat and a huge raffia-work model of a semi-trailer. There was nothing left to give. The process lasted five minutes. The gap between our houses turned into a combination bonfire and christening. He is still there, but nobody has anything to say to him; it’s as if the man has never existed. No-one bothers to remember anything about him.
The generous sister made the sociopath accept all of the gifts, and helped her carry them into the house. I thought it was kind of her. The house has been destroyed now, and in summer the gap between the houses fills with bones. Everyone ignores it. It’s no longer a place with a name.