The Sad Shopping Centre


I read about the sad shopping centre, the one that’s going to close in Surrey Hills and turf out all the shoppers who like to hang out in the down-at-heel coffee shop where even broken light bulbs are not replaced, all the lonely people.

I read about how it’s going to close anytime soon, maybe tomorrow, next week, how it’s going to be replaced by shiny new apartments purchased by a Chinese business conglomerate, that there’s going to be flashy new shops to replace the deadbeat ones, the shuttered ones. Only the liquor store is thriving, all the lonely people.

I think of a world that’s closing down. Hotels, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, stadiums, places where people congregate. The city is emptying. People are retreating, even the parks have fewer people, the beaches and winter is closing in. It’s like a city that a neutron bomb has hit, all the lonely people.

People shuffle back to their homes from the seedy shopping centre, the old, the destitute, the disabled, the friendless, not knowing if they’ll have somewhere to go next week, somewhere to meet up.  Winter is closing in. And the Fear. And now the churches and libraries are closing too. All the lonely people.