When You Are Older (bp coyle)

There was an old Protestant church across the way for our house when I was younger. It stood abandoned for years until it was turned into a community centre. Bingo, day care for kids, coffee evenings for the elderly, that sort of thing.

I guess the funding soon ran out because it didn’t last long and the building went back into disuse. Then some government person had the bright idea to use it as a methadone clinic, free needles and health advice, the AIDS crisis had begun.

My father was incensed, think what it would do to the property values. He was out each weekend protesting.

‘But,’ I tried, ‘surely we need places like this.’

‘It’s easy to be idealistic at your age,’ he told me. ‘When you’re older you’ll understand.’

The protesters won, the clinic went somewhere else. They won again when a phone company tried to place a mast on our local police station. I tried to reason then too. But the property price was offered again and the same platitude about understanding when I was older.

I am older now and I do understand.

I wish I didn’t.

But I do.

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