Photography by: David Myles
Written by: Jen Klassen

The sound of footsteps fall hollow on the cold ground. The glass eyes of vacant buildings reflect grey skies, and echo the damp feeling that resides in my chest. I glance around, and it seems as if I am the only one on the street. As my gaze roves around the landscape before me, I see a sign in an empty window: “Closing soon.”

I walk a few steps further, and spy yet another boarded up building. The pockmarked visage above the windows denote another dashed dream; maybe another hope crushed under the weight of bills, expenses, and the pressure of an economy unfavourable to the local entrepreneur.

I wonder about the previous owners; what was their story, what future did they imagine for themselve that first day they opened the doors? What did they feel as they closed the doors for the final time? The lock clicking with finality, they turned and walked away, footprints fading from view, an end to their delusion of grandeur.

New businesses open up alongside these empty skeletons. It’s a harsh juxtaposition of promise and potential against the sensation of a building holding its breath.

Overlooked and passed by, these buildings watch the hustle of dreams pushing past. They’re bottled up in the brains of passers-by, who rush onward to other places. They lay forgotten, and pushed aside for brighter spaces.

Even the building where the workman works away, the sound of thudding hammers quietly haunts its walls, and still it sits vacant. A destiny unfulfilled. A monument to nothing yet.

Graffiti adorns the windows, amplifying their abandoned existence. Empty words, on empty places.

Peering through a window, the blank walls and floors yearn for decor, to be used for what it was created to be. Facilitating visions of vibrant futures, vestibules of whimsy, never to be realized.

Boarded up windows offer little in the way of hope for the next venture. They provide an untrustworthy backdrop to a town thirsting for the next new identity, a lingering sense of failure haunts the streets where these buildings stand.