Ten metres back

by Gabriella Sonabend

The local authorities, (I can’t specify who these people actually are, as I really have no idea), have warned the shops and buildings on our road and other roads around the city; that the roads have to be widened and everything must move ten metres back.


All day long men with hammers sit on top of the buildings, in which they live and work, and which they have probably built with their own hands not so long ago, pounding at the brickwork. As I walk along the roads it looks as if the entire city has been blitzed as facades fall in every direction. What will become of the people who live in these dwellings, who run their family business from these dwellings? Will they still sell their wares on the street outside where their shop fronts had formerly stood? Will they be able to afford to rebuild their facades? Will they lose weeks of work? Will the work make any difference at all?

As they hammer and chisel it is with a strange nonchalance. It seems that the instruction to demolish their buildings is no surprise and that there would be no point in challenging the ‘authorities’. Life continues. The days seem to be rapidly growing shorter, I watch the sun fall on the water in the afternoon and then return home to my pile of books.