Remnants of old rural Woluwe. A single narrow brick house standing alone, barns scattered along the backyard, a big garden stretching back…To the right of the house a half-torn shack stands. All around Woluwe has grown into a contemporary residential area – the building showing evolving tastes and technologies of 50 years.
In the old farm lives an elderly couple. When the weather is fine they are often outside, leaning against the wall they observe the street, passengers and passing cars. Cars have to slow down outside their house – they need to give way to one another. The order is imposed by a huge plant pot that makes the road narrower.
I go by here quite often – on bike for a yoga class a few hundred metres further on. It is the Chaussée Roodebeek. Sometimes I pass by to fetch my parked car, or to join the Metro station.
One day, the house seems abandoned to me – the blinds are down, nobody in sight. Next to the house a public announcement on a pole is installed. This is how it goes, the elderly has gone to an old people´s home, and the family puts the house on sale… heritage in pipeline. A big lot will soon be cleared – ready for a modern apartment block. I have no time to stop by and read the message properly, though I see it every time I pass. Would be nice if the house stayed, I think. A useless thought, to be cast away.
Then one day, I finally go by on foot and have a minute… I cross the street and read the sign: The Commune is planning to tear down… the old shack standing next to the house. They are searching for its owner. So, the shack is not part of my farm house. I move a bit further and peep in, the blinds are up, and the living room at the other end of the ground floor is lit – in a lamp light, I glimpse two silvery heads.
A funny relief, an absurd joy. A borrowed time. They are there, the house will stay, and the shack will be torn, to hell with it.
Or did I dream?