The day is grey and they are knocking the tram barn down. She has never known a time that the tram barn was used and the tram she gets off now spends its nights down at Morphetville.
There is a road, a barricade, a man with a reflective jacket and a radio. She can’t get close enough to take a photo. But because of the way the wind blows, she gets a light spray from the hose they are using to keep down the dust.
She leaves Victoria Square, walks along King William Street, and it must be the day for it.
They are knocking The Criterion down.
She is not one to huff and puff about things that aren’t the same and she tries not to say too often we all used to and isn’t it a shame? And did she mention her family’s income depends on the fact that when one building goes down another goes up in its place.
But they are grace-filled buildings, and when they get knocked down, no one even bothers to watch.
She reaches the Beehive Corner. She would be cross if Haigh’s got knocked down. She starts her shopping with a packet of dark frogs. She has earlier promised herself that she will not, but she does not berate herself for the chocolate slip. Perhaps she should have chosen peppermint today.
On Sundays in the Mall, most of the good shops are closed. She never comes in, so she hadn’t known.
She is here now, and has to make do. She buys the present first.
There is a school band, playing under the canopy. They are lucky, because the forecast was for rain. Some of them wear uniforms and some of them do not quite. Their uniform doesn’t include a tie. They make her think of her boyfriend who played a trumpet and her brother who played the trombone.
The teacher is not young. She imagines that he thinks, in February every year, can I do another year of this?
And then he thinks: but if I didn’t, what would I do?