She peered over her glasses at the people around her. They should be quiet, she couldn’t hear herself think. Why were people so noisy these days. It wasn’t like this in my youth. We weren’t youth in my youth, or teenagers – we were just quiet. ‘I still am quiet,’ she thought.

In years gone by, she quietly seethed as the community she had lived in all her life moved from rows of back to backs into towers in the sky. It no longer existed – that camaraderie over the washing lines. Washing was Monday, that was stew day too. It all changed in the sky. People got hard, they got selfish, they barricaded themselves into self-contained, self-proclaimed prison cells in the sky.

She quietly despaired as one by one, the children grew into hulking thugs – maybe the air was better in the sky as they shot up and out, ready to topple anyone that got in their way. The planners had said it would create more green space, more parks. 

But that was a long time ago. Now she quietly sat on the edge of the bench in what used to be one of those parks. But the developers wanted to build and the palms of the councillors were greased and the bench now looked onto a wall. Quietly she thought at all the changes in her life. The noise, it was the deafening noise of people, traffic, building sites, sirens, dogs, children and these bloody youths.

“Oh,” she said out loud to herself, she had never sworn, not even in her head. It was different. She smiled, a wry slight smile that no one would notice because no one was looking at the old dear on the bench. Freda, no one called her that anymore, got up and began the rest of her journey home – to her little room in the sky, on high.