- Heather McQuillan
a window on Titan Street
Being resident in Dunedin for six months as the Otago University College of Education/ Creative New Zealand Children's Writer in Residence ( I have to practice getting that right in one go!) has provided me with new views onto the world.
The tiny window at the front of the tiny cottage looks directly onto the tiny street but the view is a window to a world I've not known before. Because Titan Street is a narrow lane it is a great shortcut for walkers. Because I have a low wall and a Lilliput Library right outside the window, many walkers stop, sit and chat. And- this is key- because of the way the window and double glazing shutters work- I can see out without them even aware of my presence. It's my spyhole!
Here is but one story- there will be more no doubt!
O Week O Me O My
The young couple sitting on the wall about a metre from where I'm working can't see me and I can't quite hear them, but they are both crying ... she's angry/ upset, he's closed in/sad... they just moved to stand on the other side of the road... now sitting in the gutter... I want to invite them in for a cuppa but they seem to be handling whatever the problem is respectfully- well the young man is- and he's topless because he's given her his sweatshirt... I want to offer him a blanket. They've been there at least 20 minutes! The agony of young love.
Update after about 50 minutes: After sitting in the gutter for a long time he went back to his flat for another sweatshirt, returned and they sat in silence for another long time. Then they started talking- explaining? negotiating? They have just parted with gentle short hug. As he walked back past my window he wiped a tear from his eye. She still has his sweatshirt. They did fine.
Now there are about 15 young men in cricket whites and carrying beer bottles assembled outside the window. The language they speak is designed to not be understood outside their clan. Glass is smashing somewhere. They cheer and hoot and call for Rangi to sort it out. I wonder if Rangi is the young topless man from this morning.
It is early afternoon. It is O week. I have window onto a different world!