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Don’t belong

Walking the streets of Kooigem on an averagely late Friday afternoon, one is not overwhelmed by a bustling vibrancy. While the odd lawn is being mowed by middle-aged white men in sweaty sleeveless shirts, not many people are out and about. Where is everybody? The impression, though, that people may be hiding inside their houses, behind curtains, spying on the stranger walking their streets with that unusual behaviour of taking pictures, indeed, showing an interest in their sleepy little town, clings to me like a heavy wet bag hanging off my shoulders. There is an uneasiness. I feel uncomfortable. Intruding. But like so many years ago, when I roamed the streets of Kooigem as a child, with that heavy feeling of not fitting in, not belonging, I plough on, turning discomfort into rebellion, and ignore the clouding discomfort around me in the knowledge that soon I will be able leave this place. Again.