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The Waiting Space

April 19th, 2010 by admin

Willow hadn’t minced words about her flat when she offered it to Winona. “It’s the kind of place that you live when you’re saving up for something.”

“If everything works out, we’ll just be there for six months, maybe  a year,” Winona admits. “I’m sure it’s fine for us.”

It is, just barely. This abode is at the less attractive end of Scarborough Terrace, part of a wooden villa with shabby paint. They ascend 20 concrete steps, then go up a cracked concrete path to the side of the house.

Unfortunately the villa was converted into three flats during one of the less comfortable moments in New Zealand architecture, the long years between claw-foot tubs and glossy glass shower units. The kitchen is a narrow corridor with stainless steel counters, and the bathroom, too, has a metal-floored shower. There are no closets. More worrying to Winona, she can count the electrical outlets outside of the kitchen on one hand. The warm wood doors, and a leadlight window, give the place a fraction of charm.

“They advertised it as one and a half rooms, which is true, and people showed up expecting two bedrooms,” Willow explains, showing off a curious meter-and-a-half study. “ So I think they’ll be OK if you take it over, instead of them having to advertise it again. The landlords used to live in the front flat but they decided it was too cold and moved to Tauranga. They still own the house…”

Based on the study, the easy walk to downtown, and the way the place looked filled with Willow’s vivid, cheerful belongings, Winona had taken the place for her and Will.

On a chilly autumn morning, left there by herself, she is having second thoughts. Mount Victoria rears up directly behind the small yard. She guesses that the house will “lose the sun” around 2 P.M. Bundling herself up, she sits down to do more job applications.

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