Teenagers look at public spaces in different ways to adults. They have a surplus of time, a newfound independence, a need to socialise. ‘Hanging out’ in these spaces becomes the primary method of socialising, when teens turn about 16. Still too young to enter the pubs of the City unaccompanied, a taste for coffee as yet unacquired, the streets that would be hurried past without a second thought by the Buentoillitant adult population are earnest meeting places for small benevolent gangs of teens.
There is nothing more affirming to a friendship than in-jokes, secrets, arcane knowledge kept between a few privileged individuals. So it was that when Namyane Welche found the Plateau, she instantly became beloved by her little group, her friends and followers. She found the place one night, whilst in the grips of terrible insomnia. She’d been walking around the City in the warm, dark summer air, and she spotted the low roof, the handholds. Later, when they all snuck out of their houses, except Charles who was grounded and was being carefully watched by his parents, she showed them the way up: first you climbed on top of he big bin, and then you climbed up the wall side where the missing bricks were and you could drag yourself up to the Plateau.
Today the bin will be replaced, the contrasting bricks once again removed, so the way up into the rooftops of Myre Street are clear. Once up there, you are pretty difficult to spot from the ground, unless you lean over the edge of the building and start chatting to someone below. It was up here that those chosen few teenagers chatted conspiratorially, deepened their friendship by dropping items in front of the pedestrians down below. They would drop, say, a confession of love written on parchment, in front of the occasional complete stranger, a lone night walker down below, then duck back and snigger as they listened to the incredulous readers. They may have sparked a minor incident in a couple once when a young lady took one of their notes a little too literally, seeing it as a proposal of marriage from their significant other, a love declaration from the sky.
Had things not turned out the way that they sadly did, each of these teens would probably have forgotten the route up to that magical space above the city streets, the conjoined, flat roofs of Myre street where the views were excellent and the space vast. Up there on the lead, marked with teenage doodlings near the edge where they normally sat, they hopped between the different roof levels and felt as if they owned the world, but they would have cast it all aside as adults, had Welche not then died in an automobile accident when they were all 17.
Today, on the anniversary of her death, Welche’s friends will all drag themselves onto the rooftops, their stomach muscles complaining, not unused to the climb, and there they will party in her memory. Some time back her best friend, Katarina Dersde, bought the house on the end, where the makeshift footholes reside. She hasn’t changed it externally one bit. This was, and still is, their space, which brought them all closer together.
Other festivals happening today:
- The Festival of Compromise
- The Festival of Black Winged Bat Singing
- Throat Relaxation Day