Mum was helping me with a tricky button on my trousers in the kitchen of the apartment we had moved into a few weeks earlier. Sun streamed through the windows. ‘I don’t like it here,’ I shouted. ‘It’s ugly.’ Mum just looked at me and opened the door for me to go out and play. I carefully walked down the stairs. The Thiesen’s didn’t like you making a noise.
I grabbed the handle of the front door. It required all the strength in my five-year old body to heave it open and walk down the path past the front garden. The Thiesen’s didn’t want me playing in the garden. I didn’t like them. They went to church a lot. If they were the kind of people at church I was glad I never went. A few days ago when I dawdled on the footpath, I had run my hand over the beech hedge picking a single, soft leaf. Suddenly Mrs Thiesen flung open the window and screeched, ‘We can trim the hedge ourselves, thanks.’