It was from the sidelines that he watched as the wrecking ball crashed through his home. He supposed home wasn’t an accurate description anymore. As soon as the dense orb of metal splintered the wooden siding, it had gone from home to just another house. How he was going to explain this to his sister, who’d sent him to prevent exactly such a thing from happening, was a mystery.
A great crowd had congregated on the sidewalk, watching as the orb went in for another hit. The crunching sounds of the house being torn down echoed against the cul-de-sac. There was little good in him staying. The deed had been done, or was unfolding before his eyes. Despite this, he couldn’t move his feet. They felt glued to his shoes, which in turn felt glued to the pavement.
Some children that’d come to watch the destructive show milled near him. They wore backpacks and messenger bags, having just come from school. His observation drifted from the house, watching as they precariously wobbled their way through the crowd. Occasionally, their backpacks would jostle someone’s elbow, or shoulder, or roughly smack a stranger’s back. Each hit, they absorbed, like strange urban ninjas, each bump empowered them to move faster, laugh harder.
Though they were young, they were not supervised. Luckily, his hometown hadn’t adopted the fascist procedure of spotting free and independent children, then forcibly stealing those children from their (often, working) parent(s). But it was a trend that was spreading like an air-borne virus, so he thought about it as he watched the youth make their way out of his sight.
Left with simple, boring adults around him, he returned to watching as the house was wrecked. He wondered what was still left inside. Had his brother come by at all, like he had promised, to retrieve the items that’d been locked inside? What items did they possibly need? He was used to minimal living, but he supposed there were a couple of books and maybe a trinket or two that he hoped wasn’t being buried by the dust and splinters.
There was an incessant buzzing in his jean’s pocket. Waiting until the wrecking ball had completed its swing, he dug out his phone. Turning the old, clunky electronic on, he answered, “Hello?”
“Did you do it?” It was his sister, of course.
“No.” He answered honestly, “I was too late.”
“Figures.” She scoffed, “Is it happening right now?” Surely, she could hear some of the crashing.
“Yeah.” He turned, unsticking his shoes from the invisible glue and beginning to walk away, “Maybe I should go visit?” Referring to his brother, who lived only a half-hour drive away.
“If you want to.” She said, sarcastically, “While you’re there, try to get the 300$ he owes me.”
“I can try.” He offered, moving out of the crowd and towards a bus stop.
“Mmright, let me know when you’re headed home, okay?” She asked, her sarcasm fading away into a gentle tone.
“Alright.” He paused, then added, “Love you.”
She laughed, “Oh, love you too?” With the farewell, she hung up first.
He lingered with his phone, looking at the call as it continued running the minutes, even though his sister was no longer there. Finally, he pressed the off button and returned the slim device to his pocket.
The bus stop was empty. Everyone in the area was crowded on the sidewalk across from the house. Looking around, he considered sitting on the bench – but then he noticed that it was messy with the aftermath of a lunch gone wrong in somebody’s stomach. He considered leaning on the thin covering that was meant to protect from the rain, but there was a fair amount of graffiti on it. He didn’t want to accidentally offend anyone by covering one of the symbols with his body.
Instead, he stood awkwardly next to the stall. The bus schedule had been spray-painted over. He hoped there would be one coming by soon. As time began to compound onto itself, he drew a spliff from the inside pocket of his jacket. Lighting it, the tobacco-cannabis mixture soothed his lungs. Relaxation coursed through his shoulders. Turning to the side, he looked once more at his home – which was now just a house – as the city destroyed it. He surveyed the spectators who watched as the once sturdy abode was reduced to rubble. Why were they watching? Was it pure boredom or was it something else?
Taking another drag of smoke, he supposed each person probably had their own reason. It probably was very diverse. Maybe some felt pity for the house, maybe others reveled in the destruction, or maybe some just liked to hear the sound of crashing. Either way, he doubted anyone else was there for the reason he was. No one, but him and his siblings, knew the home for what it truly was. Now, no one else ever would.