The street I’m telling you about, is an odd one for sure.
Seven houses line up its east side – the west one is untouched by human hands. Beyond the houses, the rest of the world starts. We live on the fringe of a town that forgot us, and whose name we find hard to remember.
On the other side, as I mentioned, no bricks were ever laid, no paths carved among the vegetation. A mixed forest, that somehow includes both willows and cypresses, with a few palm trees dotting the canopy. The undergrowth is arrogant, it fills any room left between the trunks. Thorny bushes and wild weeds guard the darkness against human curiosity. This amorphous green entity forever stares at us, smothered in ivy and awfully humid.
The thermometer dips as you walk towards it. It’s cold, hostile and terribly beautiful.
The seven mansions, ranging from decorously small to truly labyrinthine, all share a similar style. Some painted in ivory white, some in cream tones, they are all deviation from a specific recipe made out of ingredients of neoclassic and gothic revival. They were all built in the same period: two centuries ago some say, but others here insist it was just five years ago that the carpenters left. This is one of the many things we don’t know for sure any more. And yet, we are not worried.
We don’t worry easily.
We wonder though, what lies far away – well beyond the dense and disorderly jungle. We see mountain peaks, miles and miles from here. And the sky is perpetually flashing with distant lightnings. That cursed and rocky land must indeed be tremendously distant, since we never heard a thunder from our balconies and gardens. Light sure travels faster, but sometimes sound simply dies out before it can catch up. It must be far.
It rained a few hours ago. Now the road that separates our elegant abodes from the Great Green is thick with mist. Small particles of water fill the air, and the yellow road lights seem to suffocate in the fog. This is normal, and I feel my bones being tickled as I walk down the street.
We never really leave our thunderless alley, for our cupboards never seem to run out of food, and our glasses always carry a few drops of Port or whiskey. I never get truly bored – I always have something to discover when passing in front of the other mansions. I am always surprised by new details about the neighbours as I peek through the curtains of my bedroom.
Seven houses, and yet I never seem to know all the people living here. They keep changing, somehow. And yet, after a few weeks, the same old friends reappear – perhaps moved to another villa. Strange, isn’t it? But that’s how it has always been, nothing to worry about.
Sometimes time really flies away. I sit down on the couch, reading a book, and suddenly I wake up in my bed. A different house, a different season.
Who lives in the rest of the town? Are they even humans? I have a feeling they aren’t particularly interesting anyway. Our community is close-knit and yet ever-changing. Some things, you just can’t explain I guess. I will now go and meet and greet a new family who moved in yesterday. I heard their daughter is particularly bright, and I am sure we will enjoy strolling down our little odd avenue.
There is so much to talk about! So many memories, of emotions past and future dimensions. I am not sure when I was born, and I don’t know my name. But I know what matters: the sweet smell of our alley, at night, when the world stands still and only the deep sky flashes. The storm will never come.